Are you prepared for a disaster?

The national passtime seems to be blame the hurricane misery on someone. But in light of the difficult times being had by the refugees along the Gulf Coast, I hope we are all learning a lesson.

Their may have been a failure on the part of the local governments. Maybe a failure on the part of the Federal or state governments.

But their was a DEFINITE failure to plan on part of the individuals themselves who are now in peril.

I believe WE are ultimately the primary responsible party for our own safety. I understand taht many of the refugees lacked the money to adequately prepare, but certainly not all of them.

So I am packing a family emergency kit. I anticipate stocking it with supplies for my family for 2 weeks. What do you think should be included? Assume I have to leave my home with only the items in the pack, and that my home is uninhabitable. The pack has to be of manageable size and weight.

My first thoughts:

canned food
prescription meds
water purification tablets
empty 2 liter bottles
leatherman tool
pocket knife
crank powered radio
crank powered flashlight
first aid kit
state map
vaccuum packed dried fruit
cooking pot and utensils
50’- 1/4" nylon rope
bailing twine

What else would I need? The current refugees would be enjoying a MUCH higher quality of life than they currently have if they only had these items in advance. If you eliminate the possibly expensive radio and flashlight, the kit is actually pretty inexpensive.

So. Add items to my list.

I’ve had emergency kits at home and at my desk since 9/11. (Mine, of course, also includes lipstick and a good book!)

My fear is that the disaster will come when I’m out at lunch and can’t get back into my office building!

You might want to go to the Loompanics website and look at some of their survival books.

The bible is a good idea, because it makes for good kindling.

You might add water; just because there’s an emergency, that doesn’t mean you’ll be travelling. You might also add canned vegies, because they’re good for you and the water in the can is drinkable, if not tasty.

Oops, boss is here…

One of the biggest things you are missing is a specified location that you and your family will go in case of a catastrophic terrorist attack or other distaster that cuts off communication and makes your home inaccessible. It may need to be far away from home. My wife and I have a plan where I will fiind a way to pick up our daughter at daycare and we will all meet at a family farm in New Hampshire 100 miles away from home. We already have a route that completley bypasses the city of Boston.

Our emergency kits are packed by stages: Main kit (not transportable), bug-out kit (transportable), and Last Resort kit (backpackable).

I’d dump the Sterno and substitute a good propane or multi-fuel stove. You can use it camping and picnicing, which will encourage you to keep planty of fresh fuel on hand. That way you can boil water with it as well.

Toss in a couple of mylar Emergency blankets.

Shagnasty, thank you - that’s a very good point. With the nature of my husband’s job, I don’t always know where he is - and he has the van - so we’ll be talking tonight about that very thing!

I’ve had a kit and a plan for quite a long while in my car and in my house. I’d add :
waterproof matches
12x12 or 20x20 heavy duty tarp
crank radio 2-way if you have it
wire saw

The greatest potential for disaster here is fallout from when the Pentagon is finally nuked. Not much can be done to prepare for that.

I’d throw a Boy Scout handbook in there as well. I’m not kidding. Sure, a lot of it isn’t useful for an emergency situation, but a fair bit is. Plus, as long as you can keep it dry, you can burn most of it.

I agree with Silenus about the Sterno. All that does is keep already-hot food hot. You can’t cook with it and it would take forever to heat a can of soup, and would be useless for boiling water.
Get yourself to a camping store and get a propane stove and a half-dozen small bottles of propane. Some of them are compact and fold closed. Ours comes with a stand, but you could set it on the ground if you had to.

I like to think I’d be pretty well-prepared for an emergency. We have plenty of camping equipment (three tents, and sleeping bags and air mattresses), a propane stove, an outdoor woodstove, several lanterns (both battery and propane), several coolers, tarps, and all the various extras you need for camping. We’ve been camping for as long as a week, so we have lots of camping crap.
I know we have about 10 or 11 small bottles of propane on hand.

We also have a woodstove inside that we actually use as our primary heat source. We have about three cords of wood ready for this winter, so if the electric was going to be off for an extended period, we’d be okay. We’d have the propane stove to cook on, and if we ran out of propane, we could cook on the top of the woodstove in a pinch. We also have a gas grill, but I don’t know how much is left in that propane bottle.

My husband and I also both have extensive First Aid training; he’s a 20-year fire fighter with First Responder training and I’m an EMT.

I always have water, in addition to other stuff. Water purification tablets are only useful if a) there is water available to purify and b) if the water available doesn’t have stuff in it that purification tablets can’t do anything about, like toxic chemicals. We live in a house that has a deep well, so when the power goes out that means we can’t get water either. A camp toilet is useful too.

As Shagnasty says too, get together a plan for where you’ll go and how you’ll get there if you find you need to evacuate. This was important for us when we lived in Virginia Beach, VA - if mass evacs are ever needed in that area, it’ll be hell getting everyone out, as there are only three tunnels out of the area. We also decided on a timeline for leaving - earlier, rather than later, so we didn’t spend hours upon hours parked on the highway. If you plan on staying at a hotel and you have pets, make sure you identify one that takes them.

I also have several laminated photos of the husband and pets in the survival kit - if we get separated for any reason, I have a way to show others who I’m looking for.

We’ve kept an emergency kit ever since Hurricane Opal in 1995. And have kept the cat carriers in the front hall since Hurricane Ivan. (Casa DeVena: Where cats scurry 'cause the trip to the vet is expected everyday.)

The laminated picture is a great idea.

I would add, if not a full first aid kit, a large bottle of some sort of painkiller like advil. Also if you have a wife or daughter some manner of tampons or pads. Needing them, and not being able to get them, is stressful and humiliating.

Another option for the stove is an achohol burning camp stove (it burns denatured achohol, available in the paint thinner aisle). Its not efficient as a propane stove but its extraordinary simplicity means it basically cannot fail to work when needed. Costs $15-$20, looks like this.

Stove-wise, if you really want to cover all your bases, go with something like the WhisperLite Internationale as it burns just about everything, including gasoline.

manual can opener!
I know you have a knife listed, but the can opener is mighty handy.

Oh, just went over your list…leatherman tool? Does this have a can opener?

And don’t forget the pork rinds!

All of mine do, but a good manual opener is a lot easier to use than the Leatherman.

I’m thinking I’d also need a gun. My neighborhood is a small island of decency in a city of gangs and low-income families. It never occurred to me that I would have to worry about looters, rapists and hijackers after the Big One.

Well, I am just beginning to think about this. Count me among the woefully unprepared. The next few days are going to be spent on this. Thanks already to good ideas on this thread.

Things not mentioned that are going to be included in my preparations.

-waterproof pouch with birth certificates and passports/other important ID
-two 5 (10?) gallon containers of gasoline. If we evac. in a car, this will give us a little extra travelling distance.

Also, plan to top off tank every time we get down to 3/4 tank (assuming this gas line nonsense blows over quickly)

Some ammunition might be handy.

Me, I’ve still got my Y2K Bug emergency kit. :slight_smile: