Saturday, March 12, 2011

how to build a basic emergency kit

the tragedy in japan is mind-blowing and heart wrenching. i just read thousands of hungry survivors are huddled in shelters which cannot be reached by emergency responders yet...remember katrina? after 9/11, i put together a bare bones emergency kit "just in case": canned tuna and beans, can opener, dog food, water, candles (no matches!), some batteries, a lantern and a flashlight...but after getting caught on the wrong side of ernesto (photo above) a few years back, followed by countless summer and winter multi-day power outages (including a few weeks ago), i am going to make sure that i have everything we may need on hand and in both vehicles. here's the list:
1. water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days and dont forget the animals!
2. food: a three day supply for everyone is essential. i only have canned food on hand, but freeze dried stuff has been suggested. also, make sure the food is heat stable and switch it out once a year...and dont forget babies and animals!
3. flashlight and extra batteries. i also like a fluorescent lantern because it can light up an entire room.
4. first aid kit: surprisingly handy!
5. dust masks: did not think of this before! they wear them in japan to filter the daily pollution but in a catastrophe, the air could be contaminated with dust or worse.
6. plastic and duct tape: again, never would have thought of this, but duh if you need to shelter in place.
7. anti-bacterial toilettes: self explanatory people...
8. toilet paper
9. basic tool set, including a wrench and pliers to turn off utilities and a crow bar in the vehicles in case of an accident to pull crushed metal off of a tire or door.
10. manual can opener
11. scissors/swiss army knife
12. cell phone with chargers...possibly solar or crank
13. prescription meds
14. glasses, contacts and accruements.
15. warm blanket or emergency blanket for each person
16. important documents
17. complete change of clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, walking shoes and a hat: gotta be cute, though.
18. plain chlorine bleach and an eye dropper: dilute bleach 1 part to 9 parts water for a disinfectant. or treat water in an emergency by using 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water.
19. fire extinguisher
20. waterproof matches in a waterproof container (just in case)
21. mess kits and/ or paper/plastic eating utensils, cups and plates...and paper towels
22. paper and pencil and sharpie marker
23. grill: i have a propane one, so i also need to have extra propane on hand and know how to hook it up (as i just moments ago found out:)...if you have a charcoal one, you better have extra charcoal handy.
24. battery/crank radio with noaa weather radio station connection
25. a whistle to signal for help: really?
the world's a crazy place, so be prepared to deal with it.

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