Earthquake and emergency preparedness

California’s earthquakes and the hurricanes threatening the east coast may have been seemingly non-shattering at a 4.6 (earthquake), or a category 1 (hurricane), but for friends of mine standing on floors high above the ground, or who had to quickly board their windows and escape the oncoming storms, these events were more than enough for their liking. As people were evacuated from their businesses and homes, taking with them as little as they had on hand, it stands to reason that while one cannot always anticipate disaster, there are simple ways to plan in advance.
An emergency evacuation kit should be kept in a location where it can be taken quickly on the way out of the door, or, minimally in an area they can be accessed if a situation prohibits a family or individual from leaving their residence.
For a short-term emergency, it is important to have enough for everyone for up to 3 days.
1. Bottled water. It is important to keep 2 gallons of water per person stored.
2. Food. According to the Boy Scouts of America, choose high-protein foods that do not require water for preparation and can survive without refrigeration. Dried meats and canned meats, nuts, vegetables and peanut butter, in addition to protein bars are good choices. Make sure there is enough food for everyone in the household for at least 3 days.
3. Can opener.
4. Dust masks for all in the home to filter air.
5. Diaper wipes or other moist wipes, garbage sacks, plastic sacks for personal sanitation.
6. A radio, either with batteries, or a hand crank version
7. Wind-up flashlight, or flashlight with batteries
8. First Aid kit
9. Whistle
10. Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities.
11. Local maps of the area.
Additional items to consider*:
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • 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.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

What comprises a good First Aid Kit? According to the BSA, contents can be as simple, but as life saving as these:

Suggested First-Aid Kit Contents

  • Bar of soap
  • 2-inch roller bandage
  • 1-inch roller bandage
  • 1-inch adhesive
  • 3-by-3-inch sterile pads
  • Triangular bandage
  • Assorted gauze pads
  • Adhesive strips
  • Clinical oral thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Sunburn lotion
  • Lip salve
  • Poison-ivy lotion
  • Small flashlight (with extra batteries and bulb)
  • Absorbent cotton
  • Water purification tablets (iodine)
  • Safety pins
  • Needles
  • Paper cups
  • Foot powder
  • Instant ice packs

Because of the possibility of exposure to communicable diseases, first-aid kits should include latex or vinyl gloves, plastic goggles or other eye protection, and antiseptic to be used when giving first aid to bleeding victims, as protection against possible exposure.

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