Disasters occur all around the world, every single day. Most are natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, ice storms and blizzards. Some are chemical, such as tractor trailer rigs wrecking and spilling toxins into the air and environment, or accidental poisonous discharges from manufacturing plants. Some are terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of the World Trade Center towers in 2001, or the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma
City. And on rare occasion, some disasters are caused by the outbreak of virus or infection, such as Streptococcus pyogenes, or the “flesh eating bacteria”. When a disaster will happen, what area a disaster will effect, and what nature of disaster will occur, can never be predicted. However, it is possible to prepare your family and home for a prolonged state of emergency in the event a disaster does occur in your area. Every home should have at least a basic “Survival Kit”. This article will address some of the essential items this kit should contain.
Drinking water is always the first concern in most disaster situations. Your home survival kit should contain at least two 5 gallon bottles of purified water, such as those used in office water coolers. You can purchase these in most grocery stores for around $8.00 a bottle, without an exchange. It is also a good idea to have several canned fruit juices on hand as well. Bottled soda is often suggested, but in the case of your family being confined to the inside of your home for an extended period of time, the caffeine will only add to the restlessness and “cabin fever” sensations.
Food is the next obvious area of concern during an emergency situation. Literally any canned or dry food substance is a good idea! Some items that you may not be aware of that come in cans are, evaporated milk, and a large variety of canned meats and meat spreads. Baby foods and canned infant formulas should be stored in bulk, and it is recommended that if your infant is lactose intolerant, you also store an infant liquid iron supplement. If you are a pet owner, don’t forget to set aside several cans and bags of dry pet food. It is strongly recommended that you store vitamin supplements for your entire family, as your disaster survival diet may lack necessary nutrition. Don’t forget dry or powdered spices such as salt and pepper, garlic, onion, and cinnamon. Dry flour, corn meal, sugar, coffee, yeast, tea, and powdered milk are also suggested items for your Disaster survival kit. Your goal should be enough food in storage to feed your family and pets for at least 2 weeks.
Disposable dishes and eating utensils are optional, and suggested only because no water is required to wash them. However, in the event you have an infant, it is highly recommended you store several of the disposable bag type bottles and nipples, even if this isn’t the bottle your baby prefers. These bags are per-sterilized, and ready to go without the need for water or boiling. An extra “sippy” cup and/or pacifier is suggested if your child uses these as well. It is recommended that you store at least one large metal open flame cooking pot, a metal open flame coffee pot for steeping coffee and teas, a large metal specula, spoon, meat fork, and large all purpose kitchen knife. Paper towel, toilet paper, napkins, wet wipes, plastic trash bags, and large size plastic zipper bags are also suggested. In extreme emergencies, these zipper bags can even be used for the safe and sanitary storage of human waste in the event you cannot leave your home. Of course, you should also have a good supply of disposable baby diapers and feminine care products in your kit as well.
It is absolutely essential that your disaster kit contain first aid materials, medications, and supplies! In the event you or a family member has a medical condition that requires on-going treatment such as asthma or diabetes, it is recommended that you discuss an additional month’s worth of this medication from your Physician. Remember to include shake-to-activate heat and ice packs. An unbreakable thermometer is suggested. Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting in the event of accidental poison ingestion), a sterile surgical stitching needle surgical stitching thread, lavender essential oil, tea tree essential oil, and honey, are items some people over look. Diarrhea is common during extended periods of disaster rations and conditions, so it is highly recommended that your medical kit contain an anti-diarrhea medication. Of course, cold, cough, and allergy medications are good ideas. Every kit should also contain an amply supply of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, sterile bandages, and antibiotic creams. Your kit should contain personal hygiene materials such as bar soap, liquid hand sanitizer, floss, corn starch powder, nail clippers, toothbrushes, hair brush, razors, Vaseline, vinegar, scissors, baby wipes, antibacterial gels and spray bug repellants.
If you have propane lanterns, cook tops, and camping stoves, of course these items are always suggested. An ample supply of batteries in all sizes, shake-to-charge flashlights, battery powered radio, cellular phones, candles, matches, kerosene, lantern fuel, propane bottles, charcoal, charcoal lighter fluid, engine oil, WD-40, and extra lantern mantles are suggested. Other items such as wind up alarm clocks, gasoline generators, porta-potty, hand tools such as wrenches and screw drivers, rope, an axe, tire pump and tire patches, hand saw, chain saw, hammer, shovel, nails and super glue can all be included. But some of the most important items are the ones that are typically forgotten. A hand operated can opener, a pocket knife, and duct tape are absolute musts!
Of course creature comfort items such as blankets, an extra change of clothing, an extra pair of shoes, an extra pair of eye glasses or contacts, books and board games, writing paper and pencils or pens, crayons, children’s and pet toys, and musical instruments can all make an extended stay under emergency conditions more tolerable! You can’t predict a disaster, but with planning, you can be prepared!