September is disaster preparedness month. Are you prepared? The truth is most people haven’t done anything. So you are off the hook this time, but the reality is you need to do something! No one will be there to bail you out with food if there is a disaster. The first responders will be busy with much bigger issues auch as roads, bridges, office buildings, and airports.
I’ve put together anwith food, medical supplies, a , juices, and water. I have everything we might need (I hope) if there’s ever an emergency. I’ve even got food and medications for our dog.
I put my emergency kit together last year and plan to change out the food each year. Thankfully, there are basics in a kit that never need updating like first aid kits, windup radios, plastic utensils, toilet paper, etc. I know it’s hard enough to create a kit, never mind updating the food every year. It’s important, though, to keep food that’s edible in the kit. Can you imagine if there was a disaster and you opened up your kit and everything had an expired shelf life? That would not be a good time thing.
If you update your food supply on a yearly basis, you can kill two birds with one stone. I bought most of the food in bulk at Costco. Food like peanut butter, tuna fish, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned juice, and pudding cups which all have a long shelf life. Since I only want to update my emergency supply once a year, I bought new food to replenish the older food. I then donated the food I had on hand from the first food supply. The expiration date for most of the food was not until spring of next year. Since there were a variety of expiration dates, it would be too hard to keep the food fresh in the emergency kit unless it’s changed out all at once. It makes more sense to replace it on an annual basis and donate the previous year’s supply, since it’s well before the expiration date.
So now you can do three good things: Create an emergency kit, update foods and medications each year, and donate the previous year’s food before its out of date.
For tips on putting a disaster kit together, check the Red Cross and 3Days3Ways. Need a great place to donate? The Eastside Month of Concern for the Hungry starts this weekend. You can donate and many supermarkets on the eastside on Saturday, the 24th and all through this month.
The eyes of the world are glued on Haiti right now. The Haitian tragedy is horrific. It’s sad to see so many people who are injured and may die because help was not available quickly.
Here in the US, we’re lucky to live in a country with relatively good roads, building codes, a solid infrastructure, great medical services, and police and fire departments. ( You may think things are not perfect here, but they’re pretty darn good when compared to much of the world) Regardless, we’re lucky to have all that’s available to us if and when there’s a disaster. In the earthquake prone region of the Puget Sound, a disaster certainly can happen. Our experiences will be different than those of the Haitian people.
Yes and No. The odds are our buildings will not crumble, even in a strong earthquake. Medical help will be available. But if there’s a disastrous earthquake or Mt. Rainier decides it’s time to wake up and remind us it’s an active volcano, we’ll have more problems than you think. You need to wake up and be prepared before the mountain wakes up or the earth shakes.
If there’s a disaster, the police and fire will respond to the most serious, general emergencies. The police and fire departments will take care of damage in the major places with lots of people. They’ll be checking out the office buildings, bridges, airports, and streets. They’ll be busy with the major crises.
In Haiti right now the search and rescue crews are driving right past homes to the churches, hotels, and other major buildings in an attempt to rescue survivors. The same thing will happen here until all those buildings have been checked out.
The police and firemen won’t come to your home right away. They may not come for several days. It’s physically impossible to check each home in a community right after an earthquake. Even though we live in a country far more advanced than Haiti, everyone in the United States needs to be prepared. If there’s a major natural disaster, you could easily be on your own for 2-3 days or more.
Each person and each household needs to prepare for a possible disaster.
For your home:
- Know where your water shut off is located.
- Make sure your water tank has earthquake straps.
- Put heavy decorative object on lower display shelves or secure them.
- Bookcases can be secured to the wall.
- Have tools and wrenches handy (see below)
- a first aid kit
- Water and nonperishable food for three days.
- Can opener, utensils, plates, plastic cups,
- Your medication.
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Garbage bags
- Crank radio
- Flashlights and lanterns
- Formula, bottles, and diapers for babies
- survival blankets
Here are some additional tips from Stephanie Day, The Emergency Management Coordinator from the City of Kirkland:
Keep small bills in a safe place in case of an emergency. Imagine spending $20 for water if all you had available were $20 bills.
Keep a wrench in a plastic bag (to prevent rust) next to your gas shut-off so you’ll be ready to turn off the gas if needed.
However, don’t shut your gas off unless you hear or smell something. You can’t turn the gas back on without the utility company’s assistance — and it could be a long wait!
Keep at least half a tank of gas in your car at all times.
Have at least one corded telephone in your home. A cordless phone or cell phone may not work during a disaster.
Make sure you have a small disaster preparedness kit in your car, in case you’re stuck somewhere out on the road. Keep a pair of those old sneakers you planned to throw out in your car, just in case you need them.
If there is an emergency, a great site for local information is The Regional Public Information Network (RPIN), which incorporates the latest from Federal Emergency Management Administration, local Ham radio operators, and the National Weather Service among others.
Tomorrow it’s important to get prepared for yourself.
Can you think of other things people should do to get prepared? Are there other websites that provide good information?