THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
People often don’t think about creating a disaster emergency kit until it’s too late. The truth is, every household should prepare an emergency kit way in advance of any possible threat. Kits are commercially sold, but often lack necessary equipment. Making your own ensures that you have everything to meet the unique needs of your family. After building your emergency kit, double-check it every three to six months to replace any food or medications that may have expired. Your kit should include the following:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food per person (consider any special dietary needs and avoid salty, dry foods that will make you thirsty)
- Manual can opener, mess kits, paper cups and plates, plastic utensils and paper towels
- Three gallons of water per person for drinking and sanitation (bottled water is the best option, although you can bring your own aluminum containers of water)
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Whistle, matches or flares to signal help
- Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags
- Cell phone with charger
- GPS and/or local maps
- All-purpose tool
- Dust masks
- Pet supplies—food, extra water, bowls, etc.
- Baby supplies—diapers, bottles, formula, change of clothes, medications, etc.
- Glasses and/or contacts
- Important documents, such as copies of insurance policies and bank records (store in a waterproof container)
- Complete change of clothes for each person (include long-sleeved shirts, pants and sturdy shoes)
- Sleeping bag and/or blanket for each person
- Paper, pens, pencils, books, games and other activities for children
- Personal hygiene items, including feminine supplies
Your first aid kit is possibly the most important piece of your emergency kit. Properly treating minor injuries can make a major difference when facing an emergency situation. Be sure to pack any specific items and medications needed by your family members and regularly check them to see if expired medicines need replacing. Generic items that should be included are:
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- Sterile gloves, scissors and tweezers
- Sterile gauze
- Bandages in various shapes and sizes
- Antibiotic towelettes and/or hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic and burn ointments
- Petroleum jelly
- Aspirin (or other pain reliever), anti-diarrhea medicine and antacids
- Any necessary prescription medications or medical supplies, such as insulin, inhalers, glucose monitors etc.
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