Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Emergency Preparedness

Hurricane season is drawing to a close but fires and earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards and other woes never go away, so it's never time to stop thinking about how to deal with emergencies.

The Department of Homeland Security has offered up ideas on a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
* Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
* Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
* Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
* Flashlight and extra batteries
* First aid kit
* Whistle to signal for help
* Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
* Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
* Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
* Local maps

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

* 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 www.ready.gov
* 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
Of course, it depends on the time you have to get ready. It was interesting to see that some of the California wildfire evacuees took tens and camping gear with them to shelters. With the newer style tents that are free standing, they provided families with a modicum of privacy at a stressful time.

Last year we gave our kids small emergency kits suitable for car or home. REI sells a nice "Survivor in a Bottle" kit for about $20. It has the virtue of being compact.

Quake Pro offers up water in a box with a 5-year shelf life here. They sell personal-sized survival packages (3 days of food and water & a space blanket) for $21. See here. Water in 4 oz pouches available here 100 pouches for $30.

Emergency Essentials sells fill-it-yourself boxed water kits (25 gallons) for about $30, as well as many other useful items.

You might want to add a folding shovel to the kit - this place sells one for about $8. Good idea for travel in snow country.

Some companies will sell you complete kits with items you might not have thought of - a 5-person kit from iPrepare.com has a lot of stuff and you can add more. The kit contains:
5 Person Kit Includes:
5 2400-Calorie Food Bars, 15 8.5 Oz. Water Boxes, 5 Solar Blanket, 1 Pair of Work Gloves, 50 Purification Water Tablets, 12 Sanitary Waste Bags, 1 Pkg. Sanitary Toilet Chemicals, 1 Box Waterproof Matches, 1 AM/FM Radio with Light & Generator, 4 12-Hour Light-sticks, 5 Dust Masks, 5 Tissue Packs, First Aid Kit, Latex Gloves, 5 Candles. Comes packed in 1 Port-A-Potty Bucket.
Runs about $160 and weighs 26 pounds.

And don't forget the radio. Information is everything in an emergency. Get a good hand crankable radio with a weather band. The Hurricnae Store.com offers up one for about $25. Amazon has a Grundig for $40:
At slightly more than a pound in weight, and with dimensions of 6.5 x 5.75 x 2.25-inches (WxHxD), the FR200 is designed to be tucked neatly into its handy nylon carrying case and can be easily stored in an emergency box, or packed neatly for a camping trip. An LED flashlight is set on the front of the radio, just to the side of the analog tuner. The flashlight is designed to help you down an unlit stairwell or enclosed hallway in a pinch, but the light is not directed or strong enough to help you much in a pitch-black forest or other open area. The radio and light can be operated simultaneously, though of course at the expense of power.
Build a couple of kits for your cars and the house and rest a little easier.

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