Preparing for a natural disaster requires planning months before the chance of that natural disaster occurring. Since it is impossible to predict when the next hurricane, tornado, tsunami, earthquake, or other disaster will occur, preparations should be put into place before disaster strikes.
Always maintain a minimum of a quarter tank of gas. This will get you out of the immediate 50-mile radius, and hopefully to a fully functioning area with supplies or gas facilities. When a known disaster is on the horizon, keep a full tank of gas in all automobiles used for evacuation. Use one car for the entire family to prevent highway back-ups. Wear appropriate clothing that can offer protection from the elements. Bring your disaster supply kit with you when you evacuate.
· Lock all windows and doors.
· Unplug appliances except freezers and refrigerators.
· If a flood is possible, unplug ALL appliances.
(2) Maintain Communication.
Make sure someone outside of the disaster zone knows where you are and where you are heading. Ahead of disaster time, have a plan in place for immediate family members and how they are to contact one another. This may include a rendezvous point as well as an outside party for relaying information.
(3) Food Tips.
Do not store overly salty foods in a disaster kit as they promote thirst. Be sure to follow any dietary concerns for the family. Stock only foods easily opened without power and require no heating, cooking, additional water, or cold storage.
You should maintain a drinkable amount of water equaling one gallon per person, per day. This minimum will be higher for younger children, older adults, nursing adults and in warm areas. If you must prepare your own water, be sure to store food-related water in food grade containers. Never use leftover food containers that contained milk or sugary juices, as they can promote bacteria growth. Proper emergency sanitation is achieved with 1 tsp of bleach and one quart of water. Rinse thoroughly. This should be done before a water shortage occurs, as the rinsing needed for sanitizing a bottle requires substantial amounts of water.
(5) Supply Kit.
A supply kit should include the following:
· Non-perishable food for the entire family for up to 5 days.
· Water supply. One gallon, per person, per day, up to 5 days.
· Flashlight and batteries
· Battery-operated radio
· First aid kit
· Toilet paper and personal hygiene items
· Extra clothing (Climate specific)
· Copies of important documents in a plastic sealable bag.
· Portable kitchen supplies and cooking utensils
· Dietary needs, including infant needs such as formula
· Sleeping bag and blankets
When maintaining this kit, change items every 6 months to guarantee freshness, as well as appropriate seasonal clothing.