Preparing for the unexpected: disaster plans and kits

safety sackIn Colorado, you must be ready for the unexpected.   This could include flash floods, tornados, and even blizzards.   When designing your family emergency plan and disaster kit, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

Usually these kits are also called ’72-hour kits’ because you need to plan to be without power and water for 72 hours. If it is less, great, but you do not want to run out of provisions too soon.  Typically, the authorities will either have your power back on within 72 hours, or have you someplace safe within this time frame.

Be Prepared

It is very important to be prepared for anything life throws at you, and a disaster is no exception.  Maintaining a home emergency supply kit is the best way to prepare for any type of disaster.

It is true that there are already a number of items in your home that you rely on every day, and that you could grab in case of emergency, but a ready-made emergency kit will contain these items, and more.

Your family’s disaster kit should contain the basics.  Stock it with essentials for each person in your household, providing them with what they will need to survive. This should include fresh food and water as well as medical supplies.  If anyone in your family takes prescription drugs it is important to have at least 3 days’ worth of the medication on hand in the kit.

It is also important for you to periodically inventory and restock your disaster kit.  Typically this should be done every six months.

Food and Water

It is important to stock non-perishables in your kit.  These are foods that require no refrigeration. You will also want to look to foods that require no preparation or cooking, either, because you will most likely be without power.

As you purchase and stock your disaster kit, you will want to keep in mind each member of your family’s likes and dislikes.  No one wants to be faced with days’ worth of food that they just do not like; and of course, keep any allergies in mind.  Look for foods that you will all enjoy, but that are also nutritious, too, as this food will need to sustain you and keep you going.

Make sure to plan for special needs, too, such as nursing mothers, babies and the elderly.

Many of your food options will probably be canned, so make sure that you have a manual can opener in your kit as well as plenty of disposable utensils.

When you get ready to prepare your kit, remember that each person needs at least 2,000 calories per day.  In addition, you will want to put away at least a gallon of water per person per day. This will be used both for drinking and sanitation.

In Colorado, all counties have provisions for pets, too.  Make sure to keep this in mind when designing your family emergency plan and disaster kit.  Don’t forget to pack their food, too, along with plenty of water.

Additional Supplies

Additionally, make sure that your disaster kit contains flashlights and extra batteries, reading material and perhaps card games or toys for the children, an NOAA weather radio that has tone alerts and extra batteries for it, as well.

A first aid kit is a must. You can build your own or purchase an already stocked kit.  Also, include a whistle to signal for help, a dust mask for each member of your family, garbage bags, a wrench or pliers to turn off your utilities and a cell phone with a charger.