Regardless of where you live in the United States, you should be prepared for a disaster, whether it is natural or man-made. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, straight-line winds, landslides, wild fires, heavy ice or snow, earthquakes, train derailments, contaminated water supplies, blackouts, brownouts, and total power outages can – and do – occur unexpectedly. While your home could be left unscathed by any of these occurrences, you could still find yourself without basic necessities and/or cut off from the nearest available source.
What is a Disaster Preparedness Kit? A DPK is a collection of food, water, and emergency supplies for you and each member of your family. It will help keep you fed, dry, warm if need be, and well-informed during the time a disaster strikes and the time responders arrive at your location.
How many days should you prepare to “hunker down” after a disaster? No less than 3 days (72 hours). The rule of thumb in being prepared is to have too much (without going overboard) than not have enough. If it takes longer than 72 hours for emergency responders to reach you, you’ll still have enough supplies. If you’ve overstocked, you can always share the extra with people in your area who didn’t prepare. There will be a lot of them.
Plan as if you were going to be living without electricity. For details on gathering food and water for a disaster, check out FEMA’s Ready website and the CDC’s Preparing for Emergency or Disaster website. A first aid kit is a great investment to have on hand. For boiling water or heating meals, consider the purchase of a camp stove and safely storing fuel for refills. A solar charger for electronic devices may be a purchase you’ll want to consider, for entertainment value as well as for communication.
If you or someone in your family has a medical condition that necessitates the use of equipment that runs on electricity – such as breathing or dialysis equipment – you should consider the purchase of a standby generator. These are available for every budget and need. When the power grid goes down temporarily, a standby generator comes on to provide electricity where you need it most.
Get prepared. Now is the time to make sure your Disaster Preparedness Kit is ready for action.
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