This month marks the 10 years since 9/11. This month is also National Preparedness month.
Being prepared not only makes sense, it is a duty for each one of us. When an emergency strikes responders cannot help everyone and resources are stretched to the max. Being prepared allows official responders focus their time, energy and resources on the most needy (handicapped, wounded, elderly, children, etc…).
Being prepared means being educated and it means having emergency supplies on-hand.
What are the supplies you’ll need?
Food means having emergency rations. This can be freeze dried food, energy bars, canned goods and any other type of non-perishable food. Remember, however, not to tap into them until you’ve exhausted all the food in your fridge and freezer, in that order. Work your way through the food in the fridge first, don’t even open the freezer until the food in the fridge is used up. Then, once you do open the freezer, work through the food as it thaws (eat up stuff that is thawed first and allow stuff that is partially or completely frozen to remain in the freezer until it has thawed too). Then and only then, should you tap into the emergency rations. Emergency Smartpacks that are endorsed by the Red Cross are a way to go. Have several of these available for each person in your household. One of the advantages of these type of emergency packs are that you can take them with you if you have to leave or are evacuated.
You should have several 5 gallon containers of water stored for emergency. You need one gallon per person, per day. As soon as the power goes out, fill up the bathtub. If water does run low after a while remember that you can use the clean drinking water in the toilet tank as well as in the water heater if you have to.
Source of heat
Wood stoves are the best source of heat in emergencies. Beware of using kerosene heaters and other types of heaters that might give off CO. You should have emergency blankets available. The silver aluminized blankets are extremely small to store and very effective in “reflecting” the body heat back. Use it in conjunction with other blankets for maximum warmth.
A battery powered emergency radio will keep you informed of shelters, emergency posts, news, etc… Remember to have enough batteries to keep it functioning as long as possible. Use the radio sparingly, just to check news and information, to maximize battery use.
Flashlights and lightsticks
One of the best advances in technology in the past few years has been the LED light. Because it uses so little energy, the batteries in the flashlights last 25 + longer than conventional bulbs. Have a few LED Flashlights on hand as well as several spare batteries and you should be good to go for quite a long time. Lightsticks are also a must have. There are several different types available, some which will burn up to 12 hours. Simply snap and shake and you’ve got a safe source of light, no matter what the conditions. They even work underwater. They will store for a very long time and will be ready for use when you need them.
First Aid supplies
In case of emergency, you’ll need more than just a basic first aid kit. A major emergency medical kit would be a good investment to keep on hand. Having first aid certification is also a good idea. If you don’t have it, however, most kits include a basic manual to walk you through the basics of what you’ll need to know for most emergencies medical issues.
Special circumstances also warrant special supplies. If, for example you’ve got someone who has medical needs that require power, you should probably invest in a good quality generator and plenty of fuel to keep their equipment running when the power is lost.
For more help in being prepared, be educated. The Red Cross has put out a great 4 page booklet that you can download for free that will help you be ready for any and all emergencies.
We all hope and pray for a long and safe life with no major catastrophe and emergencies. The reality is, however, that doodoo happens sometimes. Being prepared and knowing what to do when an emergency hits can make all the difference, even possibly between life and death.