For the past 20 years, the number of natural disasters occurring around the world have been on the rise. In order for an event to be classified as a natural disaster, at least 10 people would have to die from the event and 100 or more people must either be injured, homeless, or displaced. Before the start of the new millennia, scientists regularly recorded an average of 100 natural disasters per year. By the year 2000, that number drastically rose to 300 natural disasters a year and has remained consistent to the present day. That is a 200% increase in activity! Do not fear, while a 200% increase is a drastic jump in activity, that does not mean that the planet is ending! The reason for this sharp increase is due to humans settling into new areas of the world that are more prone to earthquakes and extreme storms. So naturally, this would increase the number of recorded natural disasters occurring around the globe.
Natural disasters can occur anywhere in the world and are often unforeseen. Communities affected by natural disasters often times lose all access to electricity, running water, and plumbing; which are basic services that many of us take for granted. If a natural disaster occurs where you live, how will you respond? Are you equipped to survive a week without running water, electricity, or plumbing? If not, here is a tutorial on how to create an inexpensive emergency kit to help you survive any disaster that comes your way.
How to create an Emergency Kit
I did not make this list and all content provided below is directly from https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. They also have printable pdf versions for those who are interested. I chose to use a list from Ready.gov because those who wrote this list are experts in the subject of natural disaster preparation. Below this horizontal line is the content of Ready.gov. I hope you find it useful!
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- 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
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- 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
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)
Additional Emergency Supplies
Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
- Glasses and contact lense solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Maintaining Your Kit
After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
- Replace expired items as needed
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
Kit Storage Locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
- Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
- Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.
“Build A Kit.” Build A Kit | Ready.gov, http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Than, Ker. “Scientists: Natural Disasters Becoming More Common.” LiveScience, Purch, 17 Oct. 2005, http://www.livescience.com/414-scientists-natural-disasters-common.html.