Preparing For the Worst

Are You and Your Family Prepared for the First 72 Hours?

   Experience gained from past disasters has shown that it can take up to 72 hours or more to mobilize a significant relief effort during an emergency.  Therefore everyone needs to be preparing to cope on his or her own for at least the first 72 hours – that’s 3 days – of an emergency.
   Of course common sense dictates that we should be prepared for any emergency situation, however the fact is that only a few of us are ready for even the smallest crisis, let alone one of larger significance. 
   One obvious advantage of being prepared – it allows emergency workers to focus on people in very urgent need of their help. To support their efforts, the rest of us must to be prepared to look after ourselves for at least 72 hours.
   The San Francisco area is exposed to a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man-made. The path of destruction that Hurricane Katrina left in its wake across the southern U.S. in August 2005 and the widespread flooding of 2007 – 2008 have provided a horrific reminder of the importance of being prepared for disasters. Unfortunately no part of our country, or North America for that matter is immune to a natural or a man-made disaster.
   Earthquakes, power outages, floods, fires, severe storms and acts of terrorism are just some of the potential emergencies. Many of these emergencies have been deadly in the past. Being prepared can save lives and can help to reduce the impact of a disaster on you and your family. 

Why prepare your family? 

   Imagine for a moment that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?
   What will you do if your local authorities issue and emergency evacuation order?  Remember, in such a circumstance there will be no stores open for you to acquire anything, the store personal will be evacuating also!
   If you have not prepared beforehand for either of these events, both you and your family may have a very difficult time when a disaster strikes your hometown. 

   While governments are working hard to keep citizens safe, we all have an important role to play in emergency preparedness and response. By being prepared to take care of yourself, you allow community resources to be used more effectively during an emergency and you help keep your own family safe at the same time. Very simply put, emergency preparedness must begin at home.

Start to plan today!
   As neither man-made nor natural emergencies can be predicted; therefore it is imperative that we are all prepared well in advance of the disaster.
I cannot over stress this point.  

   Prepare your emergency kit and your family – so in the case of a major emergency like a flood or blackout – you are ready to take care of yourself and your loved ones for at least 72 hours. You should be prepared to live without running water, electricity, gas, telephones and assistance from safety services for at least three days following a disaster. 

What do you need? 
   You need to have an “Emergency Kit” in your home, ready to go at a moments notice.
   Your family Emergency Kit is comprised of two separate parts, a First Aid Kit and a Go Bag.

   Your own 72-Hour Emergency Kit should be tailored to meet the basic survival needs of your family. Store your emergency supplies in an easily accessible if evacuation is required. Items may be stored in a 32-gallon trashcan, suitcase, duffle bag, backpack, footlocker or individual pack.  

Your First Aid Kit 

   In any emergency situation, you or a family member may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. It is imperative that you keep basic first aid supplies handy so you are prepared to assist when someone is hurt. Medical help may not be available during or immediately after a large-scale disaster.
My personal list of items that should be in your First Aid Kit: 

Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
Gauze pads and bandages
Butterfly Closure bandages
Sterile dressings to stop bleeding (Blood stopper)
Elastic Wrap
Instant cold pack
Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
Burn ointment
Sting Relief Pads (for insect bites)
Sunscreen packets
Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
Cotton tips
At least two pairs of disposable gloves
A First Aid Instruction Guide
Hygiene kits
Flashlight or brightstick 
Medicines such as Aspirin or other pain reliever, laxative, anti-diarrhea medication  

Your Go Bag:
   A major component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Every household should pack a Go Bag — a collection of items you may need in the event of an evacuation order. 
   Your Go Bag may be assembled or purchased as a ready-made kit for convenience. Your Go Bag should be packed in a sturdy backpack or suitcase on wheels.
   The Go Bag should be easily accessible if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Make sure it is ready to go at all times of the year as an emergency evacuation order can occur at any time of the year. 

   Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each is tagged with the name of the person it was packed for. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work.  

Items that should be in your Go Bag:
The prescription medications you take every day such as insulin or heart medication.
All prescribed medical supplies such as glucose or blood pressure monitors
Drinking Water
Non-perishable food such as food ration bars or Meal-in-a-Box
Manual can opener
Plates, utensils and other cooking supplies
Flashlight and extra batteries or Hand-charged Flashlight
Pocketknife or Multifunctional Tool
Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
Waterproof Matches
Water filtration bottle
Duct Tape, permanent marker, and paper
Cable Ties
Light Stick
Rope or twine
Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
Heavy work gloves
Disposable lighters
Phillips Screw Driver
Standard Screw Driver
Folding Shovel w/Sheath
Trash Bags
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Personal Hygiene kit
Shave Kit
Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, gloves and a warm hat
Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag
Rain Ponchos
Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
List of emergency contact phone numbers
List of allergies to any drug or food
Copy of health insurance and identification cards
Extra prescription eyeglasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
Prescription medications
Extra keys to your house and vehicle
Disposable camera
Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities.

Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.
   Remember that if you have to leave your house due to an evacuation order, you will be living and sleeping somewhere else for a while. It is therefore a good idea to add some activity items to the kids Go Bag.

Some suggestions may be a couple of favorite books
Crayons, pencils and plenty of paper
A puzzle
A favorite toy such as a doll or action figure
One or two board games
A deck of cards
A Favorite stuffed animal or puppet
Favorite blanket or pillow 

   I sincerely hope that this article will provide the incentive for you to get prepared for an emergency now.  Don’t put if off for another day.  The safety and well being of your family is at stake. 

Allan Wright
First Aid Kit Products

Source by Allan Wright

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