Not Just A Once-A-Year Activity
September is known as National Preparedness Month and widely promoted by FEMA and Ready.gov, but it’s important to remember that it is not just a once-a-year activity. It’s best to keep your disaster kit ready and always up to date. Food items do have an expiration date, batteries, can lose their energy, etc.
Here is a reminder of the basics that should be included in a Basic Family Supply List, as suggested by Ready.gov:
– Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
– Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
– Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
– Flashlight and extra batteries
– First Aid kit
– Whistle to signal for help
– Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
– Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
– Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
– Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
– Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
– Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
– A jacket or coat
– Long pants
– A long sleeve shirt
– Sturdy shoes
– A hat and gloves
– A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
As mentioned above, it is just as important to maintain your kit as it is to creating it. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:
– Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
– Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
– Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
– Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
– Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
– Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
– Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
– Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such – as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.
Being prepared is certainly worth the time and effort you spend creating this disaster kit. You won’t regret it when the time comes that it is needed.