Are you prepared for a Natural Disaster?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Disasters are not polite. They don't wait patiently until you have found your flashlight, radio, and first aid kit before they strike. Most catastrophes, like tornadoes and earthquakes, occur without warning. Prepare for these emergency events by assembling a supply kit, arranging meeting places and contact people, and attaining important skills, such as CPR.

Stocking Your Survival Kit

The most basic step in preparing for the unexpected is marshalling a complete inventory of supplies. Store these items in a cool, dark place, preferably in large plastic wheeled crates that can be easily transported in case you are forced to evacuate your home. And check your cache every six months to make sure that none of your supplies have expired. Here’s what you should include:

•Water. According to the American Red Cross, one of the most important items you should set aside for an emergency is one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
•Medication. Perhaps the second most vital thing is a week’s worth of medication if your or a family member’s health depends on a prescription drug. It’s also key to include a well-stocked first aid kit of assorted bandages, pain relievers, and antibacterial ointment.
•Hygiene items. A stash of personal hygiene items, such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, is also a must.
•Food. Nonperishable food items that require little or no cooking are essential, too. Look for dried and canned foods that will not easily spoil.
•Utilitarian items. Don’t forget to include basic tools (a wrench and screwdriver), a can opener, scissors, garbage bags, duct tape, a map, a radio (one that can operate via a hand crank is best), flashlights, and plenty of batteries.
•Other items. Be sure you have set aside some money and stored your personal documents in a safe, accessible place. You may also want to include comfortable shoes, sets of clean clothes, and blankets.


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