With the Spring and Summer season upon us, the weather can be a little on the unstable side. Mother Nature has a few different sides of her personality to include: tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, floods, heat waves, and droughts. Are you ready for any of these events?
We’ve decided to put together a comprehensive list of items that can be used in pretty much any situation that Mother Nature could throw at us. Our list can vary from your own personal list (depending on your geographic location), and that’s okay, as long as you are prepared – that’s all that matters. This list is also designed for a 72-hour time-frame even though the aftermath of some disasters can last longer than 72-hors.
- Water- Water is a necessity to sustain life. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. Also, having other means of generating water is a great idea. There are great units available for home purification if you are by a stream or near water. Also, single person water purification systems are available as well. Having a deep pot on hand to boil water is also a good idea.
- Food- Food is also a necessity to sustain life. How long can a person survive without food? Well, there really isn’t a true definitive answer to it. It all depends on your age, sex, body weight, health conditions, and is water available. But research suggests a person can survive between 10-14 days without food. There are plenty of companies that offer food supplies that are already pre-made, but remember some of these packages will need boiling water to cook the products. A good idea would be making your own pre-made kits by using containers. Some food to consider for long term storage: Corn, Wheat, Beans, White Rice, Sugar, Rolled Oats, and Pasta. Canned goods are also a good idea to keep handy. Some canned goods to think about storing is: Canned Fruits, Canned Veggies, Canned Meat (Spam, Tuna, etc.), and Canned Beans. Be extra attentive to avoid the high sodium content items since this will increase your desire to drink water. Also, energy bars are a good idea to keep on hand to keep up your strength. Also, don’t forget to have something to cook the food on, like a portable grill or even a bigger grill (Don’t forget the propane or charcoal) will come in handy. **Don’t forget the manual can opener!**
- Fire Source- If you have food that needs to be cooked, or need to boil water, you’ll need a heat source to do this. If your power goes out and you have an electric stove, you’ll be short on luck with cooking. Having matches, lighters, and tinder on hand to make a fire will be great to keep warm or even to cook with. Campfires can bring unity in the group and bring up moral in a bad situation.
- Flashlights- Having light in the dark not only brings comfort but can make a world of difference in a disaster. There are many different flashlights out there on the market. LED’s are looking like to be the new norm for flashlights which is great for battery life. Having a variety of flashlights is always a good idea: Headlamp, Lantern, Hand-held, Magnetic, Spotlight, etc. One thing you can think about as well that won’t require batteries are lightsticks. Lightsticks can last upwards to 8hrs. Another good investment would be candles. Some candles can last between 36hrs to upwards of 115hrs.
- Batteries- Some flashlights are rechargeable, while others rely on batteries. Having a variety of batteries to accommodate your flashlights is a must.
- NOAA Weather Radio- Keeping up with the weather when power is out will provide you with extra information about the weather and possibly upcoming storms. There are different types of NOAA Weather radios to include crank or battery powered. In my opinion, I like the crank and solar power style.
- First Aid Kit- Everybody should have some sort of first aid kit on hand for any situations. There are many different pre-made kits available on the internet. You can purchase pre-made kits from Skinny Medic, Dark Angel Medical, and Tac-Med Solutions, or if you’re like me, you can make your own personal one. Some basic OTC meds to think about, especially in the Summer Months, includes: Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), Ranitidine (Zantac), Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Meclizine (Dramamine), Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol), Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Tab), Loratadine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Afrin, Neosporin, Baby Powder/Gold-Bond, Ice Packs, Antibacterial Wipes, Ace Bandage, Lip Balm. When in doubt, keep a first-aid book handy just in case to identify certain issues. If you take medications on a daily basis, don’t forget to keep extra filled prescriptions on hand just in case. Another thing to remember are the band-aids, anti-septic sprays/gel, and a whistle.
- Tools- When at home, you should at least have a basic tool kit on hand for simple household repairs. But keeping specialty tools on hand would be great in case you have a water leak and have to turn off your water. Here are some of the basic tools that you may need: small tool kit/multi-tool, duct tape, electrical tape, Mechanix gloves, zip-ties, tarp, rope, chainsaw, wheel-barrow, hedge-shears, dust mask, and eye protection. Having these tools handy will make clearing debris that the storm left much easier. Also, having a generator (with spare gasoline and spark plug) is a great asset as well. It’s not necessary, but boy is it nice.
- Misc. Items- Some misc items that are over looked are: Garbage bags, plastic grocery bags, waterproof/freezer plastic zip-loc bags (you can place important documents in these bags to protect them from the elements), moist towelettes, feminine hygiene products, local area maps, cash, emergency contact information/telephone numbers (Power Company, Local Non-Emergent Police Department, Insurance Agent, Local Hospitals, Local American Red Cross), and board games/playing cards/card game. Also, make sure your vehicles are gassed up and have a locking gas cap in place (in the event that someone might try and siphon your gas).
- Pets- Don’t forget about the fur babies during the storm. Make sure that you have food and water for them. They are part of the family, so make sure they are safe as well. Include them in your escape plan.
- Protection- During a Natural Disaster, sometimes people can become frantic and may be tempted to steal your items and potentially do harm if the “natural order” isn’t restored. Having some type of protection for your family is a must. Be mindful that in some states during a natural disaster, some laws change, especially dealing with firearms. Make sure you aware of these changes before the natural disaster and not during.
- Have a plan- Having a predetermined plan in place, that all the family members know about, will make things move smoothly in the event of a natural disaster. It doesn’t hurt to run “drills or scenarios” so every one can practice on where to be and what to do, so it will be second nature.
Like I said, your list my vary from our list. This is just something to get you started, if you haven’t already done so. The Red Cross and FEMA has some lists available that can also help you out for future planning. Preparedness is key to survival. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said it best, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Have a plan, practice this plan, and perfect it. Don’t be caught off guard this season. Be Prepared!
As always, ya’ll be good and be safe!