No matter where you live, disasters may happen, and while you have no control over emergencies such as severe storms or earthquakes, you can prepare for them by creating your own disaster kits. By having vital supplies on hand, you will increase your chances of survival and comfort until the emergency has passed or until rescue workers arrive.
Cases for Disaster Kits
The professionals at All Cases say that your two primary options for kits are hard, waterproof cases and soft-sided cases, such as backpacks or duffel bags. The former is more likely to withstand disasters such as hurricanes or floods, but may be heavier and less convenient than soft-sided cases, but all the same, won’t get damaged by water, and are crush-proof, but you can also store small waterproof cases inside backpacks or duffel bags. Each smaller case could contain first aid supplies and packaged food items. Ideally, you should have both kinds of cases, and you should store them in a cool, dry place. The area should also be a place you will easily remember, such as a front room closet or pantry shelf. Depending on the size of your family, you may need more than one kit.
What to Pack
Pack food that is easy to open, has a long shelf life and is calorie dense, you can choose canned foods, protein bars, and ready to eat meals. If you pack canned food with traditional lids, remember to pack a can opener. MRE’s (meals ready-to-eat) are long-lasting, and provide an array of entrees, desserts, side-dishes that are water-resistant, and high in nutrients.
Having medical supplies on hand can mean the difference between life and death, so pack Steri-Strips, antiseptic wipes, Kerlix, medical scissors, a suture kit, bandages, wound wash, space blankets, pain medication, compresses, gloves and medical tape. If you take prescription medicines, keep extra medicine stored in your disaster kit.
The power is usually off in disaster situations, so pack flashlights, a small battery-powered radio and extra batteries. Choose flashlights that have LED bulbs for the greatest visibility.
What to Keep in Mind About Water
Water is one of the most essential items to have during disasters, it can take a while for rescuers to get to you, and so you should always keep water on hand, because in many cases your water supply might get contaminated during emergencies. Store at least one gallon per person per day – assume it may be at least three days, possibly more, before you have access to clean water again. Because of its weight and bulk, water can be stored next to your disaster kit rather than placed in the bag. If you have to leave your home, just carry as much water with you as you can, and never drink water that’s exposed to the elements, as it might be contaminated.
This article was written by Kathrine Kreger who grew up with a preparedness fanatic of a father, and is ever appreciative of the skills and knowledge that he passed onto her. Kathrine is currently living in Eugene Oregon, and just graduated from the U of U in Salt Lake City Utah last year.
See our Survival Bag Page for more information on Bug-Out bags.