Disaster Survival Kit
Two words: Duct tape. (Just kidding.)
By Laura Marrich
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross, there are six basic items that dangle mere inches between you and an uncomfortable demise in any given disaster situation: water, food, a first aid kit, clothing and bedding, tools and supplies and "special items." Survival experts posit that if you meet each necessity in sufficient quantities, your chance of survival can increase almost exponentially over those who do not. Don't be a fool—prepare and survive, already!
The following list is an easy reference for the survival-minded. Everything you might need in most survivable disasters is accounted for—but note the word survivable. Let's say you get caught smack dab in the middle of a nasty nuclear winter. Now, do we actually believe that having all of your necessitous ducks in a row is going to save you from two tons of toxic fallout? Of course not! Not unless you packed some sort of magical protection talisman in there, too. But should you indeed manage to survive, your kit will most likely prove to be at least moderately helpful. You might have to repopulate the planet, after all—and nobody wants to get turned down as a mate because of a lack of fresh underpants. Now, first things first:
The Rules of the Disaster Survival Kit
• Keep items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack or a duffle bag.
• Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members.
• Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
• Keep all items in airtight plastic bags.
• Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
• Water should be stored in plastic containers that will not decompose or break.
• A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day.
• Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount.
• Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more than the minimum amount of water.
• Store one gallon of water per person per day; that's two quarts for drinking and two quarts for food preparation/sanitation.
• Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
• Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
• Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
• Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
• If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno.
• Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
• Replace your stored food every six months.
• Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Survival Kit:
First Aid Kit
• Assemble at least one first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
• Include a selection of the following first aid supplies in your first aid kit:
• Include a selection of the following nonprescription drugs in your first aid kit:
Tools and Supplies
• Include a selection of the following tools and supplies in your Disaster Survival Kit:
• Include a selection of the following sanitation supplies in your Disaster Survival Kit:
Clothing and Bedding
• Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person, including:
• Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
• For the baby, include:
• For the adults, include:
• Pack games and books for entertainment
• Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
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