Monday, April 16, 2012

Disaster Kit

It seems like here in Indiana, there doesn't seem to be "Tornado Season" anymore.... Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.... They come anytime!  When we moved into our home last year, we were put under a tornado warning within the first week. We didn't have anything prepared and barely knew where things were. We grabbed some flashlights, our mortgage information (we had just moved in!), and some personal necessities and headed to our basement. After the storm had passed and we had time to think about everything, we realized we really needed to be more prepared!

We had the plastic container that our new bedding set came in that we put an old sleeping bag and some pillows in to store down there. I had a heavy duty plastic tote that I set aside as our "storm box." Within it I put candles, flashlights and batteries, socks, work gloves, bottled water and non-perishable food. This year, after some devastating storms, I'm increasing and improving what's in our box.

Let this be a reminder that you should do the same.

In the past year, we got a weather alarm that alerts us when we're under watches/warnings. We also put a tool kit and first aid kit in the basement. Within my research of how to prepare for the season, I learned some new things and ideas.

Besides the typical 'disaster kit' items, here are some things that you might want to consider:
* Instead of using candles, buy glow sticks.
* Always put your phone, keys, wallet, glasses, shoes (and socks) and other personal items next to your bed in a box/container that you could grab quickly.
I'm always paranoid, so I've lived this way (minus the socks) for years. Everything is within an arm's reach of my side of the bed!
* Include extra car keys.
I should really do this anyway! We don't have any sets around here!
* If you don't keep cash in your purse/wallet, keep some in your storm box, but keep smaller bills.
I'm guilty of NEVER having cash these days. This is one that I really need to add!
* Keep medicines/toiletries that you use often with the storm items.
I would need contact solution and Cameron would need his heart medication. I actually didn't have ANY toiletries in our box! --- Include feminine hygiene products. Mother nature doesn't care what week of the month it is! haha
* Include a deck of cards or simple games. If the storms last a while or you have to stay at a shelter, you may want something to do.
* Keep a list of important phone numbers available: family, friends, insurance, utility companies, banks, etc.
* Storms usually come when the weather changes from warm to cold, so make sure you have warmer clothing in your 'safe spot.'
* Keep photos of family members/pets for re-identification purposes.
This is so sad to think about, but something you have to face and realize is possible.
* Copy of health insurance cards and important documents (wills, deeds, titles, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance, etc.)
* Throw in an old pair of glasses. An old prescription is better than no glasses at all.
I have nightmares that I'm in a situation where I need help/can't find people and I don't have my glasses or contacts. I need to find my older pair of glasses to throw in. I also included a replacement pair of contacts.
* Dust masks in a disaster kit are suggested.
* If budget allows, extra chargers for phones and other necessities would be great to include.
I also read a great idea: If time allows, record your outgoing voicemail message to include your information and safe spot location.
* Include or store in a bag or container that could be easily transported. A backpack is ideal.
* When meeting with our insurance agent, she has suggested taking an inventory (paper & pencil or video) of the most important things in our home. You could include this in your storm kit, or provide your insurance company with it. Our company keeps it in the safe.
* Try to set a time each year to update your storm box. Make sure flashlights still work, food is not expired, etc.
My birthday falls in the middle of April, so this seems like a good time to remind myself to update!

*When adding food to your kit, here some things to consider:
Recommended foods include:
Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Canned juice, milk, and soup (if powdered, store extra water).
High-energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, and trail mix.
Comfort foods, such as hard candy, sweetened cereals, candy bars, and cookies.
Instant coffee, tea bags.
Foods for infants, elderly persons, or persons on special diets, if necessary.
Compressed food bars. They store well, are lightweight, taste good, and are nutritious.
Trail mix. Available prepackaged, or assemble your own.
Dried foods. They can be nutritious and satisfying, but contain a lot of salt, which promotes thirst.
Freeze-dried foods. They are tasty and lightweight, but will need water for reconstitution.
Instant meals. Cups of noodles or cups of soup are a good addition, although they need water for reconstitution.
Snack-sized canned goods. Good because they generally have pull-top lids or twist-open keys.
Prepackaged beverages. Those in foil packets and foil-lined boxes are suitable because they are tightly sealed and will keep for a long time.

Food options to avoid:

Commercially dehydrated foods. They can require a great deal of water for reconstitution and extra effort in preparation.
Bottled foods. They are generally too heavy and bulky, and break easily.
Meal-sized canned foods. They are usually bulky and heavy.
Whole grains, beans, pasta. Preparation could be complicated under the circumstances of a disaster.

We don't have children, but here's a page of suggestions if you do. The same page also includes info for seniors and disabled.

I hope we never have to rely on these things, but I don't want to regret not having them ready. I put together a lot of things on Sunday and now I need to do a bit of shopping to get the rest. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do you have a tip, suggestion, or critique? Leave me a comment.