The Emergency Kit

Incremental Disaster Kit

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Like having a disaster plan, having an emergency kit is as crucial as it is a function of common sense. How long does it take to throw together a couple of dozen items – versus grabbing a bag from a planned spot?

  • Basic staple #1, food:  at least a three-day supply of water (i.e., a gallon per person per day) and of non-perishable food that does not require cooking.
  • Basic staple #2, shelter:  you may either lose your home or access to it for some time.  Your home won’t fit in your emergency kit, of course, but you can include a list of places you can go instead – homes of family/friends or pre-identified community shelters; using the former eases the problems of the latter.
  • Basic staple #3, clothing/hygiene:  at least one change of clothes per person, as well as shoes, bedding and toiletry supplies. As for what you’re wearing, remember that many disasters happen at night – you may be wearing your pajamas.
  • Address any special needs in your emergency kit.  Examples: spare eyeglasses, medicine (or, to prevent loss through spoilage, a list of prescriptions you can fill on the run) and baby and pet supplies (remember that many shelters will not accept pets).
  • Power and information are often in short supply in disaster, so take them with you:  batteries, flashlight, battery-operated radio.
  • Some small tools – a rope, a wrench, pliers, a hammer and nails – may prove useful.
  • Even in disaster, it’s hard to live without cash.  In fact, without access to your own kitchen, it might be better to say “especially” in disaster.  Keep some cash or a credit card in your kit.
  • Once sheltered, you may be surprised at how quickly you become bored.  Some reading material in your emergency kit is more important than it seems.

Keep a smaller version in your vehicle.  Why smaller?  Not only is a car is smaller than a house, if you are in your vehicle you are usually mobile; if so, logic dictates you will go somewhere safe – eliminating the need to live out of the kit.

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