How to Build an Emergency Kit
In life we never know when we could be faced with an emergency. In the Northwest, we are surrounded by tremendous beauty in our coastal views, beaches and mountains. We are, however, told that a large earthquake could come and wreak havoc on our region and life as we know it. Living on a coast also means that we are at risk for damage and destruction from a Tsunami and with so many mountains nearby we are also at risk for mud slides. Other areas around the United States face emergencies such as hurricanes, tornados, snow storms, and wild fires.
Each type of emergency requires its own plan of action but there are some things that are useful regardless of the type of disaster such as how to get in contact with each other and an emergency kit.
How to Build an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit can be simple and fairly inexpensive; what is important is that you have enough supplies to get you and your family through 7-10 days in less than ideal conditions.
The 5 essential components of an emergency kit:
- Water. You will need 1 gallon per person per day (1/2 for drinking, 1/2 for cooking/sanitation)
- Food. You will need food that is high in fat and calories and that has a long shelf life. Meal replacement (protein) bars, canned foods, and packaged foods that don’t need to be cooked such as beef jerky.
- Light Source. Candles are a fire risk so they should be avoided. Safe-light options such as battery powered or hand-crank flashlights, lanterns, or light sticks are all good options. Be sure to pack batteries.
- Warm and Dry Clothes. Each family member should have at least one change of clothing. Pack a waterproof layer or synthetic clothing that wicks water away from the body; know that if you do get wet it is important to get dry as quickly as possible because moisture pulls heat away from your body. Extra blankets and a tarp are also a good idea.
- First Aid Kit. Include items for minor cuts and injuries such as bandages, pain-relief medication, scissors, gauze pads, medical tape, and antiseptic wipes. Be sure to include medications and/or equipment specific to your medical needs.
Bonus Items: Basic sanitation supplies, a radio, paper and pens.
Keep Your Car in Good Running Condition
You never know when you could end up stuck in a natural disaster. Make sure that your car is in good running condition, especially if you live in an area that reaches very hot or very cold temperatures.
- Brakes should be in good condition
- Antifreeze should be topped up and tested to negative 15 degrees
- Working seatbelts for everyone in the vehicle
- Full tank of gas
- Working windshield wiper blades
- All lights working including brakes, headlights and taillights
- Oil clean and at proper level
- Tires with good tread/appropriate for season
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