Saturday, March 29, 2014

Emergency Preparedness Kit - You really do need one... really... you do...

Moderate Earthquake in LA


I have talked about this before and I know you all think you will get to it someday, but I would like to encourage everyone to start working on an emergency kit. Here in California we have these natural roller-coaster rides called earthquakes and while I am not afraid of them, I do respect their power. I have a co-worker who was living in San Francisco during the 1989 quake and her building wasn't damaged, but she lost power for 5 days. If you lost power and water for 5 days, can you cope? 
This isn't a California only thing, this is anyone who lives anywhere on planet earth. Do you have hurricanes and tornadoes, or winter storms and wildfires? A bare minimum supply of 2-3 days water, food and medicine can help you get through a temporary outage of all services. Some people say, I live in the city and we have stores and public services like police and fire, that wouldn't happen to me. Think about the city of New Orleans after Katrina, or New York after hurricane Sandy... and say that with a straight face. Now that we agree you need something, what is the next objection?
I don't know what to do... it is too hard and too much stuff. There are a lot or resources out there that can guide you and the Red Cross has the easiest site to follow. It walks you through everything you need to know and let's you customize for your situation, such as seniors or pets.

Red Cross Family Preparedness Planning

Here are the contents of their basic kit recommendations..
  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
Put this stuff somewhere that will be easy to get to, and if you have to evacuate, easy to take with you. Plastic totes or that old wheeled ice chest you don't use any longer are a couple of options. The point is all of it should be "grab and go" and not "find and seek" when you are already in a stressful situation.

Plan how you would "get out of dodge" if you have to leave because your home or neighborhood is unsafe for whatever reason. (In California, wildfires are a really likely reason!) Have more than 1 way out and have a place to go to once you are out of harm's way. I live in the bay area and before I moved to my current home, I lived in Moraga. A town with only 2 main roads out and 4 possible routes all together. Think about that.. if you are in that situation with limited escape routes and everyone is going to take the most common road, what can you do? Do you know another way? Is your vehicle capable of taking a fire break road or do you have a motorcycle that can manuever through congested roads?

These are all things that you need to think about but first, get started! Start accumulating your kit items now... you can build it over a period of time but just get started!


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