Imagine that dreaded moment comes that we have all heard about: the big one. The earthquake that is supposed to hit the Pacific Northwest and shake the very foundation we have grown accustomed to. Do you have the necessary items to keep you hydrated, fed, warm enough and safe enough to face whatever may come next? There is never a convenient time to get ready for a crisis, so just START now. Buy a few things each month crossing them off your list as you go. With a modest investment of effort, you can diligently prepare for a disaster so that your family can survive until help arrives. As Hurricane Katrina showed, you could be waiting awhile.
The ground beneath us shakes, and dishes fall out of cabinets, windows break, gas lines rupture, older buildings that can’t stand the assault, collapse. There’s more than just food and water to consider.
Do you have what you need to deal with the aftermath? Shut off the gas first! Do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you have work gloves to protect yourself as you clean up the debris in and around your home? Windows will be broken; do you have tarps to cover the openings until they can be repaired (and duct tape to keep it in place?)
Dust and particles in the air can be thick and dangerous. Do you have masks for everyone in your family to protect them from breathing it in? Without running water, toilets won’t flush automatically. However, it is easy to manually flush a toilet using a bucket of water. Do you have a 5 gallon bucket? Industrial grade garbage bags can come in handy for MANY things, but first and foremost- handling all that broken glass and clean-up – it has to go somewhere!
During a disaster, not knowing what is going on, or when help will arrive, is one of the most overlooked contingencies. Purchase a manually powered or solar powered radio so that you know what’s happening around you. Walkie Talkies can also come in handy. Make sure you have batteries!
The obvious thing that most people think about is water: you’ll need it more than you can imagine. Stock up. Build up a supply of canned goods over a period of the next few months. Remember to buy items that don’t have to be heated. Peanut Butter is a great source of protein in a bad situation. Buy the largest jar you can find and put it into a ziplock bag for storage since rats and mice LOVE it so much.
A little power is a lot better than no power. If the power goes down, you can use a generator. It doesn’t have to be too powerful, just enough for the basics like lights and running one household appliance. In fact, a solar generator easily could take care of much of your needs – and it doesn’t need any gas.
In an emergency setting, credit cards are useless — so have cash on hand. This is a step that can be done gradually — even saving $10 per month — you can build a cash reserve.
In an emergency setting after a disaster, chances are you’ll be engaged in a lot of physical activity. Put together a comprehensive first aid kit including bandages both large and small.
When disaster strikes and obliterates a large metropolitan area like New York or Washington that destroys electronic records, it can effect you way over on the West Coast, so be prepared. Make sure that you have the necessary documentation to prove who you are and what assets you own. Since you won’t be carrying the documentation package everywhere you go, get a passport to serve as your identification tucked away in the package. Other important documents include bank statements, mutual funds or stock/bond statements, retirement accounts, and the deed to your property. Keeping them in a small safe in your Emergency cabinet is a great idea. Lastly, have all these items together so you aren’t hunting around for things in a panic. Many of these items can be bought at Long Bros.
Here is a list to use over the next few months… check off the items as you purchase them and finally have some peace of mind that you are more prepared.
- Fire extinguisher
- Commercial grade duct tape
- Work gloves
- Paper Towels/Shop Towels
- 5 gallon bucket
- Dust/chemical masks
- Commercial grade garbage bags
- Knife / Multi-Tool
- Solar Powered Radio
- Two way radios + batteries
- Charcoal grill (if you don’t have one already) and/or a way to safely boil water
- Back up generator if you can afford it
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlights + Batteries
- Hand & Body sanitizing wipes -if there is no running water
- Bandaids, both large and small
- Water (you’ll need a lot)
- Canned Food
- Manual can opener
- Ziplock baggies to keep things dry
- Plastic silverware & paper plates/bowls
- Manual can opener
- Sleeping Bags
- Food & water for pets
- Backpack in case you have to leave your home in a hurry (fire?)
- Local Map & Compass
- The Original 1911 Boy Scouts Handbook