The first serious pending tropical depression/tropical storm of the season is upon us in South Florida. What is noteworthy is that it has come about on 24th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. Those of us that lived through Andrew in ’92 and the three strikes in 2005, Wilma, Rita, and Katrina don’t take hurricane preparedness lightly.
FEMA.gov, and Ready.gov have published very good lists to follow on Food Preparedness, Car Safety, Managing Water and how to Build an Emergency Supply Kit. Since Wilma, I will tell you I have one very impressive emergency bunker built, stocked, and ready to be opened at the very mention of gale force winds. I will also tell you that unused batteries bought in 1992 don’t have the life expectancy you think they’d have. And that’s something not found on FEMA.gov, just sayin’….
I was reading through the lists on the government sites and discovered some interesting items that I don’t have in my bunker/Emergency Supply Kit, so its off to Target I go in search of a whistle and a solar powered phone charger. The listing of a whistle brought back horrible recollections of photos of residents in New Orleans who were stranded for days on rooftops. Not that a whistle is going to get help any quicker, but it will signal for help. Not found on any Emergency Supply Kit list but after looking at those photos again, a can or two of spray paint isn’t such a bad idea to add to the kit. I came across an interesting company in my research, called LifeStraw. Lifestraw is product that filters out virtually all of the microbiological contaminants that make water unsafe to drink. Originally LifeStraw was designed for people in developing countries who don’t have water piped in from municipal sources or other access to safe water. LifeStraw is an ideal product for Emergency Supply Kits to be used in emergency settings following natural disasters when water is contaminated. Visit LifeStraw.com for more information.
From Ready.gov and FEMA.gov the below list is of basic emergency supplies that can be assembled into making a personal emergency kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Rubber gloves
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
The meaning of non-perishable according to Dictionary.com is: not subject to rapid deterioration or decay. Basically this means in the 48 hours prior to a hurricane coming down in your neighborhood, do not prep 22 pounds of Valencia paella, Strata for 15, or a gallon of ceviche. This is just some experience-information I thought to pass on….someone apparently took “let’s have a hurricane party” to a whole new culinary level of epic failure.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- Food for infants
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