What will you do if disaster strikes your neighborhood?

September 1st, 2009 4:17pm
When did Noah prepare for the flood? ...BEFORE the rain!

When did Noah prepare for the flood? ...BEFORE the rain!

Have you ever given much thought to disaster preparedness? If you are living in areas prone to natural disasters, the answer to that question would probably be an eye roll, followed by a resounding “of course!!!”. But if you’re like me and ¬†you live in an area that is seldom affected by natural disasters, then the realities of that question might be a little tougher to put into perspective. The problem is that we never know when disaster might strike (or in what form it might take) and the time to prepare is BEFORE it hits…there’s rarely an opportunity in the aftermath.

If your neighborhood were faced with a fire, a riot, flood, tornado, hurricane or earthquake, the most critical need for help after the disaster is during the first 72 hours. But, as some of the more recent catastrophes have demonstrated, community and government assistance will probably not be available during this critical time period. So it would seem a wise idea to have a 72 hour kit prepared for each member of your family that could be grabbed quickly as you run out the door that would sustain your family for this critical time period. I’ve got a few suggestions that were handed down to me through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Provident Living resources. Remember that this is meant to be a “survival kit” and while you will want to be comfortable, there will not be room to be extravagant…

Each person should have the following items packed away in a lightweight backpack…

  • Plastic bowl, spoon (old cool whip containers work great)
  • Food for that individual
  • Flashlight (store batteries separately)
  • Roll of toilet paper and plastic grocery bags for sanitation
  • Pancho or large garbage bag
  • entertainment (crayons, coloring books, puzzles, etc.)
  • small blanket or space blanket
  • change of clothing stored in plastic bag

Some sample menus are as follows (remember, each persons food items should be easily stored in a large plastic ziploc bag or other lightweight container that can be sealed closed)…

Day One:

  • Breakfast: Cereal, powdered milk, fruit cup, box of OJ
  • Lunch: Cup of soup, saltine crackers, box of apple juice, pudding cup
  • Dinner: Corned beef hash, applesauce, box of grape juice, granola bar

Day Two

  • Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal, fruit roll, box of apple juice, hot cocoa/ice tea
  • Lunch: beef jerky, peanuts, applesauce cup, box of grape juice
  • Dinner: chili with beans, saltine crackers, box of OJ, tapioca pudding cup

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: 2 granola bars, box of grapefruit juice, hot cocoa/ice tea
  • Lunch: box of OJ, cheese and crackers, fruit cup, granola bar
  • Dinner: beef stew, bread sticks, box of OJ, fruit cup

Some other items that might need to be distributed into the packs of the older children or parents:

  • Sterno
  • latex gloes
  • family records and valuables
  • feminie hygiene needs
  • siposable diapers
  • medications for three days (include tylenol, tums, etc.)
  • first aid kit, hand towel, radio
  • can opener, pot, and pot holder
  • utility/pocket knife
  • small ax, heavy gloves, tarp, and matches

Don’t forget to include enough bottled water for each person for three days. In these unpredictable and difficult times, it is important that we be as prepared as possible for the safety and well-being of our families. When asked why you are preparing for disaster when you live in a “disaster-free” zone, you can answer with a smile, “when did Noah prepare for the flood?…BEFORE the rain!”