Whether you believe a zombie apocalypse is imminent, or are just a responsible adult, you should always have your home and family prepared for an emergency. Even the president is talking about emergency preparedness.
In his Presidential Proclamation released Aug 31 President Obama proclaimed September Emergency Preparedness Month. “I encourage all Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and observe this month by working together to enhance our national security, resilience, and readiness,” he said.
Perhaps the Presidential Proclamation will inspire those of us who still lack the basic kit and plan to get ready to respond to an emergency with self reliance. But if the Presidential Proclamation does not move you to action, then how about the prospect of having to go to your friends or family that have done the work and ask them to supply you with the essentials that they stocked up for themselves? Be responsible to society, to your family and friends, and especially to yourself—and be prepared.
There are many agencies both community- and government-sponsored dedicated to helping people be prepared for an emergency. FEMA ( Federal Emergency Management Agency ) is the mother of all disaster agencies in the United States.
FEMA was established in 1979 when the government combined 22 agencies in to one. Later FEMA was incorporated in to the Home Land Security department. But even with funding in the billions FEMA can never be as fast in its response to disasters as individuals can be, so there is all the more reason for each household to be ready to cope with an emergency on its own.
If you stop and think about it there are endless reasons why you should be prepared for an emergency. 2011was a record year for natural disasters and 2012 has not been much better. If you are one of the millions that have recently been effected by a natural disaster you will know how important it is to be ready. If you live in an area that has been spared any disasters you will may be thinking that those only happen to others. Think again. FEMA says we should be prepared to self-sustain for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency. They recommend that every one has a basic emergency kit and a plan that details where you will go and what you will do in the case of an emergency.
- The basic emergency kit should include at a minimum:
- Water in plastic jugs, 1 gallon per person per day
- Non perishable food enough for a minimum of 3 days
- Can opener, flashlight, and battery operated radio with extra batteries for both
- A good first aid kit
- Matches in a waterproof container
- A whistle to let people know where you are should you become trapped
- Water purification tablets
- Personal sanitary and hygiene items including dust masks
- A complete change of clothes and a pair of sturdy shoes
- A sleeping bag or blanket
- A basic toolkit to turn off utilities which should include screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, wire cutters, an axe, a saw, and a crow bar.
You should have your basic essentials kit packed in a backpack and stored near the entrance of your home where it is easy to lay hands on should you suddenly need it.
Being ready for the 72 hour emergency is relatively easy since most of the supplies are common in every household. Whether or not you are ready for an emergency is a matter of whether you have realized that being prepared matters. Once you make up your mind to do it I think you will find that the feeling of being self reliant will give you a real sense of security should any natural or man-made disaster befall your region. In a real disaster the most valuable thing you can possess is the ability to take care of yourself and your family. Once that is covered then you can lend a hand to others not as prepared as you. Wouldn’t that be great.
For guides on emergency preparenedess, see http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan and http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit
Gordon Elliot has over 30 years of experience in working on homes and is on a mission to arm people with the skills and confidence to do home projects they would not have otherwise attempted.