As we head into fall and hurricane season, the potential for a disaster may be more on your mind but it really can happen any time of year. Depending on where you live, the potential for an earthquake, ice storm, blizzard, hurricane, tornado or forest fire is always present and the best thing you can do is take time to be prepared. In the wake of a disaster, the chaos that ensues can make it extremely stressful and next to impossible to assess needs and try to maintain household function and many items may be unavailable or destroyed. Putting together a disaster preparedness kit before-hand is essential, especially prior to seasons when severe weather is more common. It’s better to be safe then sorry so a little time on your part can pay off greatly down the road.
Ready.gov offers a great list of items to include. Whether you do them all or pick and choose the ones you think you are most likely to need, here are some items you don’t want to overlook.
• A flashlight. More than one won’t hurt. Don’t forget extra batteries.
• First Aid Kit. Buy a premade one or put one together from your medicine cabinet.
• Emergency chargers for cell phones. Solar chargers, inverters or portable battery chargers may be the only way for you to reach loved ones or help.
• A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and weather radio. Don’t forget extra batteries for each device.
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape to help rig an emergency shelter if necessary. If you are a camper, skip this and keep your tent handy.
• Have a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Make sure you have a manual can opener for cans that need to be opened.
• If you have pets, don’t forget food and other necessities for your pets.
• Baby formula and food, diapers and anything else your baby can’t survive without.
•Water. Depending on your water situation, you may have access to running water but be prepared in case you don’t. You may also want to keep a container of plain household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to make disinfectant or purify water. Research how to do this now and print instructions to tuck in your disaster kit. Without electricity, your best friend Google may not be able to help with this.
• A few basic tools such as wrenches and pliers to turn off utilities, if needed.
• Matches in a waterproof container.
• Prescription and common over-the-counter medicines and glasses.
• Moist towelettes for personal sanitation
• Garbage bags.
• A whistle to signal for help.
• A dust mask.
• Local maps and a compass.
Place your disaster kit somewhere easily accessible so you can grab it quickly if you need it. Make a habit of checking it annually and switching out things as needed such as food or medicine that is getting old or diapers that your baby may have outgrown.
The Janis Penick Team
RE/MAX Bastrop Area
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