Saturday, September 24, 2011

Preparing Your Family For Disasters

When you get the order that you have to evacuate your home due to fires or floods, what do you do? You don't have time to pack a suitcase in many instances. I know for myself, the items I will certainly grab will be this laptop, that is my lifeline, and there is no way I'd leave it behind. My digital camera is the other thing. I would not want to be without either. And the external hard drive. This is where I keep my pictures, music, videos, my books and articles that I have written. All important stuff I would not want to lose. This is one reason I have been putting everything in digital form and getting rid of physical items. Less to worry about.

The item that you should have for each and every family member, including the littlest infant, to each of your pets, should be a Bug Out Bag, or better known as a BOB. These are available for sale all over the place. In fact, the government sites for emergency preparedness, recommend having what they call a 72 hour kit for each member of your family. I prefer to make my own up and not buy one already made. This way it has what you or each person of your family will need or want in that type of situation.

The very first item to get for your BOB is the bag itself. I picked up a really nice one at my thrift store. The last time I was there, I noticed they had a lot of them available. Make sure it has room for everything you want to carry, and most important, that it is waterproof.

Water - You can buy water in little bottles for this purpose. I don't usually like to use plastic, but in this case it is probably your best option.

Food - Three days of nonperishable food. Food that can be eaten directly from a can with no cooking is good. Even if you normally like it warmed up, but edible, is all that matters. Include a manual can opener. I have bought the kind of cans that are pop tops. Or you can buy MREs from the emergency preparedness sites, Amazon or the Sportsman Guide. They are light weight and campers and hikers use them because they are easy to use. You will need a source of hot water to use them.

Food needs to include some canned milk and juices, not including the water.
Some ready to eat foods, even if they are not the kind of food you usually eat. Like Spam (it IS meat, protein!), Dinty Moore Stew, roast beef hash, tuna, canned soups, etc (you get the idea).
High energy foods like peanut butter, nuts, crackers, granola bars, etc.
Instant coffee, tea bags, powdered creamer, sugar.
Include some hard candies, cookies, cough drops, etc.

First Aid Kit - Assemble or buy one that is not bulky. Keep it in your BOB. You only need one of these in your family.

Clothing - One complete change of clothing for each person in their bag. Warm clothes, especially if in a flood is essential. Here is what you need to include:

Jacket or coat
Long pants, like sweat pants are good.
Long sleeve shirt, like a sweatshirt.
Sturdy, comfortable shoes
Waterproof boots
Hat, gloves and scarf
Rain gear
Change of underwear
Socks, more than one pair of these.
Blanket or sleeping bag

Sanitation Supplies - The worst thing is to go without our basic needs to be clean. Include plenty of these items for each family member. If someone has different needs, include them. You can include the items you share as a family in one larger BOB. Like an Army duffle bag would be good. It would not be something you can carry easily through the woods by foot though.

Toilet paper
Liquid Detergent
Mini or Maxi pads
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Shampoo, brush, comb, etc.
Plastic garbage bags and ties (can be used in the bucket for toilet)
Plastic bucket with lid (can be used for a toilet)

Wind-up flashlight

Tools - Items needed for various reasons. You can adjust this list to suit you. But remember you may need some items that you don't normal use and this list is from FEMA's site.

Mess kits or dishes for each member with utensils
Transistor radio with extra batteries
Flashlight with extra batteries, or wind-up version
Jack knife
Duct tape
Waterproof matches in waterproof container
Pencil, pens, red marker, paper
Signal flare
Portable water filter
Needles and thread
Plastic sheeting
Aluminum foil
Plastic storage containers

This is just a basic guide that I tried to put together. I am back to working on my own BOB right now as I never finished assembling it. As I discover what works for me, I will post here, so you can put together your own too. Hope this will help you get started! No matter where you live, from a fancy apartment building in Hollywood, CA to the wilderness of Minnesota, to Key West, REALLY do NEED to be prepared!

*All the photographs of the products in this post are from Amazon and contain my affiliate link. I did not have photographs of these types of products to show you, so I used their links. If you have any questions about what that means, than please view my page, FTC Blogging Disclosure.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole
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