The Top 5 Necessities to Prepare Your Family for Any Catastrophic Disaster!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

(Above, the devastating effect of Super Storm Sandy in Long Island, New York. Debris lines the streets, accompanied with a fishing boat carried inland from a nearby dock, just days after the storm subsided)   

In this day and age, with all the technological advances and years of evolutionary study, citizens of the world must come to terms with the idea that things could change for our population sooner rather than later. With looming menacing topics ranging from cyber terrorism threats, to Mother Nature’s response to the tidal shifts of global warming, or PERHAPS even an unannounced zombie invasion, humankind ought to be safe, rather than sorry.  Although we each have our own opinion about the Mayan speculated impending doom this December, we must admit that it can never hurt to be a little prepared for whatever calamity may lay ahead.

In race of the recent devastation of Super-storm Sandy, that ravaged the northeastern states of America, this month’s blog is about simple steps that can be taken to prepare your family in the unfortunate case that catastrophe strikes your home. It has been previously publicized that a 72 hour stock of reserves is sufficient in the case of a natural disaster or a failure in the power grid, but in an effort to learn from the ongoing strife in places like Long Beach Island, where even 10 days after the storm subsided, it’s residents were still without aide from organizations such as FEMA or the Red Cross, consider preparing for at least a week of self-sufficiency. One concise trip to your favorite mass-merchant store can ensure the difference between a persistent struggle and effortless survival. Drawing from resources such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Geographic hit show “Doomsday Preppers” we have compiled a list of the top 5 things to think about while stocking up to ready yourself and your loved ones in case the unthinkable happens and disaster strikes… at you!

  1. Water and water filters – Dehydration should be your first concern as it is most common during disasters and having a supply of emergency water can prevent this from occurring. This is especially important for those of us who have medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. You should have at least two weeks’ worth of water kept in your home (and probably some in your car) at all times, calculate at least one gallon per day, per person.  Also, consider stocking up on enough water filters to last two weeks past that, should the water supply in your area be contaminated due to a treatment plant’s lack of power. These come in many forms, such as iodine tablets, Britta or Pur filters, and UV purifiers. Your very last option is always to boil the water to remove contaminants before ingesting; this should be your last option because you need to be rationing whatever heating element you’ve got as well.
  2. Sustenance – In the event that you are confined to your residence for a week or longer you must calculate the rationing of every resource, especially nourishment.  Stock up on the obvious nonperishables; anything canned (be sure to have a can opener), dried or instantly made with the addition of hot water.  Seasonings and spices are nonperishable as well; these will make unfavorable foods bearable! An easy back-up solution to ensure protecting your health is to keep an extra container of your preferred multi-vitamins, protein powders, nutrition supplements (wheat grass, calcium and vitamin C) and instant or ultra-pasteurized alternative milk (good examples are almond, coconut and soy).  If you have a slightly larger budget consider investing in food preservation supplies like dehydrators, canners, smokers and fermenting/pickling supplies and making your own nonperishables! 
  3. Power – There are many different ways to maintain some form of electricity in small quantities during a down power grid depending on your budget and space.  The most basic of solutions are candles and anything battery operated such as flashlights; in which case a good stock of matches and batteries are essential. LED flashlights are the best option while they may be a bit more expensive; they last longer than normal bulbs, are much more powerful, and run on less energy.    Another option is to keep a reserve of dry firewood in your garage or storage unit; which can be used as a heating element as well as illumination. Generators are a good option if you have a home with space to store it as well as fuel to operate it. One that runs off of gasoline and has at least 2000 watts can be handy to keep frozen foods for a few days, while those that run on propane can run for a couple of weeks on a large outdoor propane tank. If that’s the route you choose; consider keeping 2-3 full propane tanks on hand. The longest lasting solution would be to consider installing solar panels on your property, in this “green era” there are plenty of appliances that run on solar energy; ovens, lamps, lights and lanterns, water heaters, well pumps and even farm equipment.
  4. Communication – Keep a shortwave, AM/FM, radio for news. Battery powered radios that feature the TV and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather band are good choices. Some emergency radios have a hand crank generator feature, which allows you to charge internal batteries in the event you run out of disposable batteries. Keep cash on hand in case banking systems fail and there is no credit/debit accessibility. Consider selecting a ‘safe house’ among family or friends, in case of an emergency or evacuation to all convene there; better to be together than apart. Community and codependence are essential to survival of any type of devastation, you must rely on other’s skills and resources to make it through until help can arrive.
  5. Sanitation and Health - One very essential item is a well-rounded first-aid kit containing Band-Aids, antibacterial cream, disinfectant wipes, anti-inflammatory and pain management medications, tweezers, a small roll of medical tape, small dental emergency kit, gauze and other items that can help you to treat scrapes, insect stings, splinters, small eye injuries and a number of other minor injuries. If you have allergies, your first-aid kit should also include an Epi-pen Auto-Injector (epinephrine) to avoid anaphylaxis. Also consider your personal medical safety; have a good first aid kit and keep a few weeks supply of medicine that you may need for chronic conditions such as thyroid or heart medications. Although it isn’t immediately essential to survival; consider building a small personal hygiene kit containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, sensitive or baby wipes and feminine hygiene products to maintain cleanliness.

Our final tip for facing such emergencies is to build a “Grab and Go Bag” in the event of a sudden evacuation. Select one duffle bag big enough to contain 72 hours’ worth of the above supplies for your family unit that can easily fit in the trunk of your car. Consider even leaving it there so you are already prepared in the middle of the frenzy. Think about putting duplicates of important medical records or identification documents (birth certificates, etc.) in the bag in case your residence suffers irreparable damages. Though sad to think about, dangers may always be looming ahead, we hope you consider these few things as we would all rather be safe than sorry!

From the Sabre Family to yours, we wish you a safe and healthy holiday season and many more to come!

For a more tips and online resources for disaster preparation click here!