Monday, February 28, 2011

Are You Prepared?

Today's post is inspired by a reader and friend, Robin, who asked me a very good question: Do I have an emergency preparedness kit?

Sadly, the answer for me is NO!  I am woefully unprepared for any kind of natural disaster.  Of course, I have the luxury of living in an area that is not prone to most of the major disasters we see on the news - hurricanes, earthquakes and mudslides.  But we do get tornadoes here (though not usually in my town) and my family really should be prepared.

About 5 years ago I actually printed out a list of the things I would need for a kit but I never acted upon it.  It's still sitting in our family BOB (Big Ol' Book - a manual for our household) but has never been used.  It's probably about time I thought about that.  Especially with kids, if we did need to hunker down in our basement for a tornado those kids would go crazy without a few creature comforts (and so would I!).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) actually has a whole website devoted to helping Americans get prepared:   Here's their list of suggested items for a kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank 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
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

It's a great list actually!  And one we should all be working on assembling for our homes.  Of course another key piece is adding a tickler to your calendar to check the kit at least once a year (maybe when you change the clocks?) to rotate out food and other products that might expire or lose their effectiveness.
I'm adding this to my to-do list for this spring.  Once I have a kit assembled I'll be back to share it with all of you.
Now it's your turn?  Do you have a kit?  If so, let us know!  Share a link to your blog post about it or share a picture on Facebook!  We want to know how you are preparing!


  1. Thanks! This is great and I will start working on mine soon. It's a good thing to have...I've been thinking of it ever since last summer (?) when a big portion of a neighborhood in San Bruno, CA had to flee their homes without warning when a gas pipe underground exploded and started a huge fire that destroyed many homes. The homes that weren't on fire also had to evacuate immediately and they couldn't go back for about a week or more.

  2. Thanks!
    I've just been thinking about getting a kit ready for our house since it's the beginning of tornado season here in Nebraska.


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