Two hours in a gas station line.
Three to four hours to get on mass transportation.
No transitional housing.
It’s the one name that many people probably don’t ever want to hear again. Kind of like “Irene.”
Sandy has left a path of devastation on the East Coast like many have never experienced. We’re hearing variations of “I’ve never seen anything like this in all my time here” over and over.
Is this the new ‘normal’?
What is going on? Is this the beginning of the end for us?
Many think so, but many think this is just a glimpse of what our lives will really be like in the future. Others are taking this as a serious reminder to get their emergency provisions in order.
Would you be prepared (as prepared as you could be) if you were stuck without power, food or assistance in your house for days?
Emergency Stockpiling Lists for the Entire Family
In order to be prepared, the APHA emergency preparedness checklist recommends that you stockpile items like:
- Three-day supply of water and food at a minimum (one gallon of water per person, per day)
- Canned food with high water content (the liquid doubles as water for cooking) and low sodium (as to not increase your thirst)
- Extra prescription and OTC medications
- Bandages, band aids, first aid kit
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Matches in waterproof container
- Copies of personal documents such as drivers’ licenses, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, lists of credit card numbers and bank accounts, etc.
- Manual can openers
- Battery-operated or hand-crank radios (bonus for the ones with cellphone chargers!)
- Whistle (for emergency notifications)
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape and scissors
- Local maps
- Moist towelettes or diaper wipes (that can double as toilet paper and wash clothes)
- Chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (can be use for disinfecting and treating water)
- Sleeping bags
- Baby supplies like extra diapers, ointments, medications and formula
- Toys, books, and coloring books to keep them occupied
- Comfort food and favorite toys or items
- Photo of pet
- Extra pet food
- Pet medications
- Veterinary records
- Carriers and leashes
- Travel water bowls
Things you might forget about until they’re not available:
- Paper cups, plates, utensils
- Feminine hygiene products
- Birth control
- Contact solution
- Denture supplies
- Garbage bags
- First aid manual (you may not be able to access the Internet)
- Chocolate bars (store them in the freezer until needed!)
- Toilet paper
- Extra items for your friends and family (in a time of severe emergency, you will probably want to help as many people as possible)
In some cases, preparedness means that you are ready to evacuate your home (due to flooding, weather, chemical spills, danger, or a number of other things) at a moment’s notice. Therefore, your emergency preparedness should include grab-and-go bags (also called 72 hour bags) for each member of your family (including your pets).
Grab-and-go bags are usually backpacks (or other easy-to-carry bags) filled with items you find necessary to live away from home for a few days in a shelter or another home. At a minimum, pack for 72 hours of needs.
Make sure each grab-and-go bag includes:
- One change of clothing
- Multiple pairs of socks and underwear (including long underwear)
- Photos of family members and pets
- Bottled water
- Easy to carry snacks and food like granola bars, chocolate bars, packs of dried fruit and nuts, protein bars, etc.
- Manual can opener
- Sterno can and matches
- Extra batteries
- Rolled sleeping bag and/or blanket
- Plastic baggies (to keep items dry)
- Small pad of paper, pens and permanent marker
- Single packs of moist towelettes
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Dust mask
- Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
- Copy of identification and important documents and phone numbers
- Work gloves
- Swiss Army knife
- Health needs (prescription medications, prescription glasses, contacts, OTC pain medications, etc.)
- Easy-to-carry entertainment items like decks of cards, magazines, crossword puzzle books, etc.
- Extra sets of keys to your house, car
During severe emergencies in your area, you may not be able to make it home to your stockpiled items. Consider keeping an emergency bag in the car, separate from your at-home grab-and-go bag.
Do you think this is the beginning of the end? Do you prepare at your house?
Image: National Guard, By Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons