Preparedness 101

Extending the ‘taking care of making sure’ concept to its logical conclusion, let’s take a moment to go over our disaster plans.  The news is full of floods and tornadoes, hurricane season is upon us yet again,  massive fires are raging and the heat is brutal.  We have been through this many times before, of course, but we still need to plan.

Disasters and community emergencies – natural or otherwise – disrupt or even shut down all sorts of essential services.  We lose our gas stations, grocery stores, hardware and home improvement centers, pharmacies, the lot.  Sometimes it’s all over in a few hours, but sometimes, it’s days or even weeks before things settle down.

We’ve got to be prepared for everyone in the household – including the pets – to navigate and survive for at least three days.  Here is a decent checklist of supplies to have ready. Carefully list and label your supplies, keep up with expiration dates, replace and refresh items as needed, and store everything in sturdy but easily carried containers in a cool, dry place.  For more information, go to the FEMA site.

Food and Water: You will need at least 1 gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.  Pack foods that require no refrigeration and have a long shelf life: ready-to-eat canned foods, dried fruit, crackers, protein bars and so on.  You will also need to include pet supplies, if necessary.


  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizer
  • Moist towelettes
  • Feminine supplies
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Plastic trash bags, heavy-duty, with ties
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • N95 respiratory masks or equivalent
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Rubber gloves (2 pairs)
  • Cleansing agent (soap/towelettes)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads, 2″ and 4″ (6 each)
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Medicine dropper
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Eyewash solution
  • Assorted safety pins
  • Sunscreen
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Cold packs
  • Antiseptic
  • Antibiotic ointment and burn ointment
  • Non-prescription medication for fever and pain relief: aspirin or non-aspirin type; anti-diarrhea medication; antihistamines; antacid; laxative; activated charcoal (if advised by Poison Control Center)
  • First Aid Manual (check with your local Red Cross)
Prescribed Medications and Personal Health Information:
  • At least a one-month supply of prescription meds
  • Inhalers, diabetic supplies, contact lenses and saline solution, spare eyeglasses or readers, hearing aid batteries, and any other important health aids.
  • Personal health records of each member of household on flash drive or CD, or written notes detailing current health issues, problems, on-going treatments, etc.
The Tool Kit:
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • Light sticks
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Radio, battery-powered (with spare batteries)
  • Matches, in waterproof container
  • Duct tape
  • Knife
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
Items for Evacuation:
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Rain gear
  • Changes of clothing and footwear
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Thermal underwear (depending on climate)
  • Sunglasses
  • Jackets, coats, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers
  • Caps or other head coverings
  • Bathing supplies
  • Local Maps
Miscellaneous items:
  • Cash and coins
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Keys, extra sets
  • Infant supplies
  • Recreational materials
  • Writing supplies
  • Copies of credit cards, bank numbers, important documents, Rxs, driver’s licenses, passports.

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