One thing we all have learned over the years is that a disaster can strike any time, and no one is exempt. Disasters are worldwide and can strike in any place at any time. Catastrophes come in every form; from hurricanes to tornadoes, earthquakes, terror attack, wild fires, natural disasters, and yes even pandemics. Although the circumstances may differ; one thing that remains imperative is the need of emergency preparedness before a disaster strikes.
A packed disaster relief kit is now more crucial than ever. Disasters are life changing and can alter a life in an instant. More likely there is no time to pack. often no time to think logically about the things that you and your family may needs during a disaster. Today’s disaster relief kit should include all the essentials necessary for survival, and should also contain all the emergency preparedness supplies needed for you and your family. The recommendation is to have everything ready in one back-pack, or a small travel size carry on. A portable and light weight bag is ideal. Some experts even recommend a back-pack for each family member kept in a cool area. Other expert recommend stowing a pack in common, yet frequently visited locations such as a home, car, work and dormitory.
- Personal Medical Supplies
These important medical items are considered the essentials for life survival. When packing a Disaster Relief Kit keep the needs of the family a priority. Each family member has a need, from the young to the aged. Think, anyone in the family a diabetic, has hypertension, has allergy or use an oxygen tank? Consider packing personal medical supplies first, extra glasses or contacts. Pack essential medications (minimum of three days) for those who have High Blood Pressure, Diabetes (syringes), Asthma (Inhaler), respiratory illnesses like COPD, a small portable oxygen and Allergy medications such as an Epi-pen. The Covid-19 pandemic is worldwide, so don’t forget to pack facial masks and or shields. Facial masks are imperative in a disastrous situation. An N95 particulate mask help in dusty area and also help to filter contaminated air, such as in wildfire emergencies like in California or the more recent Beirut explosion. These essential medical items are important for life survival, without which life can de-escalate quickly.
- Communication Tools
Connecting with your friends and family is important during a disaster. Knowing your family’s whereabouts decreases your anxiety level. A charged phone, an extra charger or a charged backup battery especially a solar one, will come very handy. Also essential, a NOAA-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio that broadcasts all hazards and emergencies, twenty four hours a day. Do not forget to include an LED Flashlight, extra batteries, hand operated AM/FM radio, emergency signaling equipment like flares and whistles offers much needed help during emergency time.
- Food and Water
A disaster relief kit should never be without food and water. There should be enough of these essential supplies for at least three days. Water is essential to life, in an emergency bottled water is best. Nonperishable canned goods and high energy foods such as protein bars, granola bars and trail mix can take you a long way and are often filing. Remember to check the items expiration date and keep your bag light.
- First Aid Supplies
There are variation of first aid supplies that are essential when preparing a disaster relief kit. Consider also packing these important items: non-latex gloves, sterile gauze pads, bandages (roller), antibiotic ointments, absorbent compress dressings, aspirin, and antiseptic wipes. All these items should be kept in a waterproof container or large plastic zip top bag, organized, quickly accessible and labeled.
- Comfort & hygiene supplies
Depending on the emergency, it might take a while before you to get back to normal. Be as comfortable as you can. If there is room and time allows, don’t forget a small blanket and pillow, a full change of clothes for you and your family. Maintaining personal hygiene is important to health in very stressful situation. Therefore dedicate a bottle water to maintain personal hygiene, also include hygienic supplies such as personal wipes, baby wipes, toothpaste, deodorant and toilet tissue in your disaster kit.
Living through an emergency can be hard and stressful especially where you are a family with very young children. Have an entertaining devise in you relief kit that will help to entertain and reduce stress levels. Items such as a deck of cards, puzzles, tic-tac tow, and non-electrical hand held devises.
Today’s society is mostly cashless, it is hard to believe that cash will be useful during a disaster. However, when banks are not working and Automated Teller Machines known as ATM machines can burn down or rendered useless. ATM machines are just a computerize machine and like any computer, and therefore requires electricity as a source of power. Include small bills and coins for a week in your disaster relief kit. This is to ensure if you need food from a vending machine, or a much needed exchange.
During a disaster, documents are important to have since there is no telling when one can return to their homes depending on the type of disaster. A fire base disaster can actually destroy most precious documents about life events. Experts therefore recommend that a copy of important documents be kept in a disaster relief kit. Copies of such documents include birth certificates, marriage licenses and power of attorneys, bank information. Copies of documented state identifications are also essential, such as driver’s license, social security and naturalization certificates. Insurance cards such as medical, house, car, Medicare cards; all these important items that should be copied and place in a plastic zip top waterproof bag and positioned well in the disaster relief kit.