Chapter 2 Preparing for an Emergency or Disaster
Chapter 2.1 and 2.2 Preparing– lists, gathering supplies
1. Who do you prepare for?
2. What do you need?
PREPARING FOR AN EMERGENCY OR A DISASTER
Preparing – lists, gathering supplies
Once you have defined the Planning part of your emergency disaster preparedness plan, you can start to prepare. With a Plan in place (discussed under No Simple Answers – Planning, with multiple parts), starting the preparing stage of gathering information and emergency essentials also begins with lists of Who, What, How and Why
Who do you prepare for?
Prepare for the number of people in your family, group or organization and add a cushion of emergency preparedness supplies. This seems like a simple answer, however, disasters affect more than those in the immediate group. Others from outside the group will also need supplies. If you planned adequately, you should have more than just enough for you and your group.
Make lists; or have copies of these documents, include phone numbers, addresses, email and social media contacts. In times of extreme stress, memories can be inaccurate or even become forgetful, and it is impossible to remember everybody’s email address from doctors, financial institutions and businesses that you use. Put this secure information in a watertight container with your survival kit, so if you have to evacuate, you will have the information with you.
- Contacts of relatives, close friends and people you can trust
- Doctors, attorneys, investment brokers and co-workers
- Financial Institutions and account numbers – banks and investments
- Important documents – vehicle registrations, deeds, titles, marriage and birth certificates insurance policies
- Medications – if you have to leave the area having the correct name and dosage will be helpful, include the prescribing doctor’s name and the pharmacy information
- Insurance Companies and policy numbers
- Place(s) to meet – if communications are lost or a member is separated from your party, you will have a predetermined meeting location
- Supplies, food and water; these may need to be rationed
- Maps; GPS systems may not be functioning
What do you need?
The most important survival categories are food and water, shelter and warmth and protection for medical reasons and from assailants. There are several more categories, including equipment, tools and essential supplies that require attention as priorities.
What you need is dependent on two things, the “who” (or how many people), and the type of emergency or disaster that you are preparing for. Emergencies and disasters, like footwear, come in an abundance of varieties, types and dreads. You probably will not wear slippers or high heels to a rodeo; likewise, you probably would not have a basic bug out bag for one person, while getting a family of four ready for evacuation when a hurricane or flood is inevitable.
You may not know the type of emergency you probably will encounter, but to your advantage, you do have knowledge in your favor. You know the number of people that you are preparing for. Additionally, you can take an educated guess as to the types of disasters that occur in your area, and you can acquire your emergency supplies based on your budget, knowledge and experience.
The following is a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit as recommended by FEMA source: (http://www.ready.gov/kit)
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Additional Emergency Supplies, [batteries, fuel, tools, cooking supplies]
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Warm clothing
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food [per person]
- Local maps
- Manual can opener for food
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Supplies for Unique Needs, [medications, crutches, wheelchair]
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Whistle to signal for help
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, consider adding the following items:
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Complete changes of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional warm clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Fire extinguisher
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit – EFFAK (PDF – 977Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
- Infant formula and diapers
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Multi-purpose tool
- Paper and pencil
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Shoes or sturdy comfortable footwear
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Tarp, Rope
We also recommend :
A word about survival kits
You may not have the desire or the time to build your own emergency disaster preparedness kit. There are many different styles of emergency kits, from a basic, single person survival kit to deluxe and élite kits and specialty survival kits for campers and outdoor activities. There are also Emergency Kits made for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires along with those for auto, children, pets and lockdown situations. In addition to the survival and emergency disaster preparedness kits, Emergency Survival Preparedness Packages that contain multiple survival and emergency kits are also available.
Emergency Disaster Kits and Emergency Survival Preparedness Packages like the Emergency Preparedness Package – 4 Person w/ Food Storage has survival supplies that your family of four will need for a week. Containing food, water, first aid kits, space blankets and much more than can be listed here, this Emergency Preparedness Package includes a basic Auto Kit, a Mini Survival Kit, a 56 Serving Grab n Go Food Bucket and a 4 Person Bucket Survival Kit. This package is compact, has what is needed, and it is portable. This is a quality preparedness package, designed by professionals and provides emergency essentials for the family in a time of crisis. A great value and it will last for many years even if not used immediately, because the food is long-term.
Take this scenario. A plumber has a family of four, lives in Ohio, has limited resources and it is late spring. He knows that the river floods every spring due to the melting snow, warmer temperatures and spring rains. He also knows that tornado season is soon to follow. The storm shelter will protect his family from the storm.
This is what we know. There are four people and two common types of potential disasters in his area (flooding and tornadoes). He needs to prepare in advance for the probability of either the flood or a tornado (or both), which are common events in his area, to affect his family. He also must provide them with enough emergency essentials until help arrives, and take into consideration the possibility of providing for other victims.
Basic emergency calculations
The basics of preparing for an emergency are food, water (and/or a water filtration and purification system), shelter and protection. In addition, we recommend a first aid kit, cooking utensils, warmth, clothing, tools, medications, a means to make a fire and your lists (as previously noted). These essentials multiplied by the number of people will give you an approximate total of what you will need per person per day.
Food: To figure out the number of meals you will need, take the total number of people, multiply it by the number of meals per day, and multiply that times the number of days you want to be prepared for. For example, assuming a family of four eats three meals per day and you want to have enough food for a week, the formula to use is
4 (people) x 3 (meals) x 7 (days) = 84.
Simply put, multiply the (number of people) in the group times (number of meals each person eats per day) times (number of days) equals the number of meals needed.
Water: Another example, using a family of four and FEMA’s recommendation of 1 gallon of water per day per person is calculated as:
1 (gallon/day) x 4 (people) x 7 (days) = 28 gallons
Or for a year’s supply of water
1 (gallon/day) x 4 (people) x 365 (days) = 1460 gallons
Many people have stated that they do not drink a gallon of water per day. Remember you will also need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing, cleaning dishes, cuts, scrapes and injuries and cooking. Water, left in the open, becomes contaminated with bacteria, viruses, cysts, microorganisms, dirt, bugs and other pollutants. You should have a water filtration and purification system that does not require electricity. To purify water, use household bleach only as previously recommended, do not use unscented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
The minimum amount of water for this family of four for a year is 1 x 4 x 365 or 1,460 gallons of water. By comparison, the Water Filtration and Purification systems available from Just Us Enterprises will produce 1,200 to 1,800 gallons of water. These systems eliminate over 99.99% of contaminants, is portable and lightweight and comes in different sizes. An optional Nano Filter is also available to filter out smaller particulates.
Food and water are major considerations when preparing for a disaster. Survival kits and bug out bags will supply emergency essentials for a short-term, about 3 days. Larger emergency kits, Preparedness Packages and long-term foods are now available for more people and for longer durations. Make your own emergency kit with personal effects made from scratch or purchase an emergency kit and customize it with your own belongings. Even though emergency disaster preparedness planning and supplies may not be at the top of the “Most Wanted” list, it should be.
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