Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit
Natural disasters – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes – can be unpredictable. That’s why organizations like the American Red Cross urge people to prepare ahead of time. You may have an emergency plan in place, so everyone in your family knows what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes. What you may not have is a disaster preparedness kit.
In the event of an emergency, there often isn’t much time to search for or stock up on supplies. You can create your own disaster preparedness kit ahead of time with some basic household items.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio broadcasts continuous weather information from the nearest national weather service and keeps you updated on potential weather-related issues that could arise. These radios are vital because they can keep you updated on the weather when the local news may be inaccessible due to power outages.
When disaster strikes, access to fresh, perishable foods and refrigeration may be limited, so it’s important to have nonperishable food items readily available. Such items include ready-to-eat canned foods, granola or fruit bars high in protein, dried fruit or vegetables, nuts and low sodium crackers. If you choose to include canned items in your kit, also remember to have a manual can opener handy.
First aid supplies
You probably already have a first aid kit readily available. Make sure that kit is easily accessible or make sure your disaster preparedness kit has common first aid supplies in it. Basic first aid supplies should be accounted for, including adhesive bandages, compression bandages, tape, gauze, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes and rubber gloves. Pain relievers, such as aspirin, are also good to have on hand.
Flashlight and batteries
Power outages are a common result of natural disasters, and stumbling through darkness can be dangerous. Be prepared with a flashlight and usable batteries. Be prepared by checking your battery supply frequently.
After a natural disaster, water may not be safe to drink. If water supplies are compromised and you don’t have power to boil water, you can create potable water with a few drops of unscented disinfecting bleach, such as Clorox. It is also useful to have bleach on hand for cleanup, to disinfect hard surfaces and help prevent mold and mildew. In fact, Clorox has worked with the Red Cross for more than 40 years to donate bleach for recovery efforts following natural disasters.
“Clorox is an invaluable partner to the American Red Cross,” said Trevor Riggen, regional chief executive officer, Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “Their donations help victims of disaster recover during the most difficult times.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (emergency checklist)