When a natural disaster strikes we all wish we had prepared ahead. One of the things that had stopped me from getting supplies together is that I felt that if the supplies weren’t used they would end up going to waste. But every time I saw news reels of an earthquake or a tornado I would worry about the fact that I wasn’t the least bit prepared.
So finally, just to stop from nagging my own self to death I sat down and made a list of the items I would need. Then I took that list and thought through ways that I could use recycled items to make up my emergency kit. I took the same list and thought through ways that I could easily rotate items that would spoil. Anyway, here’s what I came up with.
Extra sets of comfortable clothing. Pack clothing that you like but is no longer in style. Tip: polypropylene, wool, or fleece will keep you warmest if you get wet.
Foot Warmer: for each member of the family two plastic produce bags and two rubber bands which will fit snugly around the legs of each person. Layer one sock, a plastic bag, then another larger sock over the plastic bag will keep feet warm. To test this out, one day while vacationing in a the mountains I wore the plastic bag between socks on one foot and just the two socks on the other foot. It definitely made a difference!
Plastic sheets will serve you well in a disaster. They can function as a ground cloth to keep the cold and wet from seeping in, to temporarily repair a damaged window, replace a missing door or as a rain poncho. Paint tarps work fine here as long as they are heavy duty ones. Garbage bags work better as rain ponchos as the paint tarps will be too large and too stiff.
Don’t throw out your old land line phone. This type of phone will work with no electricity as long as the phone line is operable.
That old junk radio that you replaced with a full fledged entertainment center can be packed away in your emergency kit with a few sets of batteries. Write the battery expiration date on a piece of tape applied to the outside of the radio.
First Aid Kit
Fill a container with mini band-aids, aspirin, antacid, motion sickness pills, individually wrapped antiseptic wipes, shoe lace (for tourniquet) … whatever emergency supplies you may need for your particular environment. Don’t forget to include things like sanitary napkins, which can also be used as a dressing for large cuts. Be sure to seal so that it is watertight.
Choices for containers:
- empty deodorant casing – not large enough for your entire first aid kit but can hold small items within the kit
- large can
You can store non-perishable food in your pantry. That way it will be rotated as you use it. For someone like me who prefers fresh food I stock up on canned items I might need in an emergency and then every now and then I use the canned goods to make up a few batches of soup which I take around to my neighbors. I restock my pantry and then I’m set for the next possible emergency. This periodic cleaning out of my pantry also serves to make me grateful for the fact that I’m using this food to serve my neighbors rather than to survive a disaster.
You’ll also need something to cook on. If you have an alcohol fondue pot or a marine stove you’re all set. If you don’t you could always purchase one of these or make a ??? cooking apparatus suitable for indoor cooking.
Keep a large stash of plastic grocery bags or produce bags for putting dirty diapers in before placing in your trash can.
Candles provide good light. While taper candles provide the best light with the least amount of fuss they can be easy to tip over, depending on what type of candleholder you have and if you have a level surface to place it on. Pillar candles are more difficult to tip over but have to be fussed with as the flame burns below the surface, although it’s not that difficult or time consuming to gently turn the outer portion of the candle to the outside so that the flame won’t be lost behind it. Tip: do this after the candle has been burning for awhile so that the candle is soft.
I chafe at the idea of purchasing good candles for an emergency that may never happen, so I use the rejects from my candle making experiments. If this doesn’t give you enough candles just use all the candles made from melting down your candle stubs.
Matches gleaned from bars and restaurants and dipped in melted wax to make them waterproof should be all you need to keep your candles and cooking apparatus lit.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a double dose of all your meds. Keep the second set in a watertight container such as a large coffee sealed with waterproof tape. Tip: duct tape dissolves into a gummy mess when wet. Use a Sharpie pen to write the date of the med with the closest expiration date on the outside of the can.
Stash a large supply of plastic grocery bags or produce bags to use as a pooper scooper when walking the dog.
Keep old blankets, bedspreads and curtains in your emergency kit. These can be used as a ground cloth and to wrap yourself in for warmth.
If you have an abundant source of wood so much the better but if not stockpile some NEWSPAPER/LOGS. The best ones to have in a disaster situation are WET LOGS dipped several times in wax to make them water-resistant. You will need a place to burn the logs in case you don’t have access to a working fireplace so store the logs in a large metal container such as a trash can.
Keep a large stash of plastic grocery bags and produce bags to secure wet, stinky or very perishable waste.
Store your emergency supplies in one or more large trash cans which once the supplies are removed can be used for waste.
In case of a natural disaster you’ll need a gallon of water per day per person. Fill plastic soda bottles with clean water and store in several places around your home so that if an area becomes inaccessible you’ll hopefully have access to one or more areas.
Freeze a few of these bottles so that if the power goes off, you can transfer the frozen water to a cooler to keep your perishables from spoiling. When they eventually melt, you’ll have some cool drinking water. As an added benefit by filling empty space in your freezer you’ll save on the cost to run the freezer.