Disasters can arise at any moment. There may be no warning and it can leave you without anything. No food; no water; it is possible to not even have a roof over your head anymore. The best solution is to be prepared, no matter what the circumstances are. It is unrealistic to plan for every possible scenario, but there should be plans and essentials in place for when disaster does strike. Many people will go through their entire life without having to deal with any sort of natural disaster.
They may live through a hurricane, a tornado or a chemical attack, but they were not harmed, their houses were not left in shambles. If you however, talk to the survivors of Hurricane Sandy, or anyone from Ohio who lived through the disastrous F-5 tornadoes that came blistering through, they will tell you the importance of being prepared. Some of them had all of the important parts they needed, while others were incredibly lucky that the response teams had the ability to rescue them quickly.
Natural Disaster Essentials
Natural Disasters are much more common than a chemical attack (for now at least), and they can take any number of forms. A flood can wash your house off the foundation, a tornado can pull your house out of the ground, and a hurricane can do one, or both of the two mentioned above. It is difficult to be fully prepared for all of them, but it is best to have plans, and kits in place to help weather the storms.
Be sure to have enough food and water to last one week. Chances are a rescue team will be around much sooner than that, but it is not guaranteed. Floods can have residual water for days. A tornado could have lifted the house and left debris over your escape, leaving you trapped for days on end. At this point, most, if not all cell phone towers will have been destroyed, meaning your cell phones will not receive any signal.
The American Red Cross states that each person should have an average of one gallon of water per day. This may seem like a lot (and it is), be sure you have clean water available to last a few days. Canned, non-perishable food items are also a necessity. The more food you are able to store away the better your chances are. Try to pack foods that do not require heating or cooking.
Chemical Disaster Essentials
As technology advances, so does the threat of a chemical disaster. They can come at any moment and often without any warning. Luckily, a chemical strike is much easier to withstand if you are prepared. By purchasing a few surgeon masks, you can filter almost all chemicals out of the air before it goes into your system. They can be purchased at most department stores for relatively cheap. Be sure to have (if you do not already have) a few rolls of duct tape. You can secure the windows and doors to keep the harmful toxins from coming in the cracks and seals of doors and windows.
When you finally realize that there is a natural or chemical disaster looming overhead, the first thought is not to grab all of your vital paperwork and forms. It (as it should be) is to take care of yourself and loved ones, making sure everyone is out of harm’s way. When you have a kit already in place, make sure that you have those documents already inside. Some of the items include birth certificates, deed to the house, insurance (house, health) forms, medical information and allergies. If possible have them laminated so that they will not sustain any water damage.
Build Kit over time
Having a disaster kit handy does not have to be built in one afternoon. In fact, most people take a few weeks, or a few months to build their kits. The important aspect is to get many of the items while they are on sale. Think about all of the department stores that put canned goods or first aid products on sale for “Buy One Get One Free”. For the one that you purchase, put the “free” one away in your disaster kit.
There may be weeks that you cannot add any items to your kit, due to financial restraints. This is not an issue as long as it does not become a habit. Once your kit is finished, and you are satisfied and ensured that your family could survive off of the contents inside, store it away and you are finished. There is no more need to add or remove any items from the container.
DO NOT, under any circumstances, remove any of the vitally important parts. You may think that removing some hydrogen peroxide or a few cans of food from the package may be harmless, but it could leave your family with one less day of food, or a wound that has no way of being cleaned.
Do not make excuses
You may come up with countless different excuses and reasons why you do not have an emergency kit. It may be primarily due to a lack of finances or storage for the items. These excuses will seem inexplicable after a disaster has left you and your loved ones without a home, and possibly without food or water as well. Response teams have expedited their rescue process and are very effective. Yet, if a disaster happens and it spans across hundreds, if not thousands of miles, it may be a few days before any aid comes to you.
Knowing that, it is imperative that you plan for your family’s safety. You can make a bin with all of the essentials and store it under your bed or in the garage. If safety is one of your main concerns, you will definitely find a few places in your house that are available for storage.
As previously mentioned, disasters of any kind can strike at any moment. It is vital for you and your family’s safety to be prepared at all times. There are many different excuses why you are not ready, but, if the time comes and you are not prepared, the consequences can be dire. Not only are you going to have to rebuild your home and your lives, but you may be missing some of the important paperwork and documents that you need in order to do so. Luckily, in this day and age, technology can help supplement the necessary items that you need “in hand”, but you should have all of your personal documents scanned and saved in a secure location. Having them saved on your computer does not do you much good when your house is under water!
Ryan Cooper is a freelance writer who is keen about family safety, disaster management and rescue operations. He also writes for www.globalsyntheticgrass.com.au among many other businesses.