The focus for this week of National Preparedness Month is Build a Kit. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for days on end. Being prepared means having enough food, water, and other supplies to last you and your household for several days. In the midst of an emergency, packing a kit will seem overwhelming or even impossible. This is why the time to prepare your kit is now, so you can ensure that you have everything you need.
Some basic supplies suggested include water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food to last each person for at least three days, a battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, a whistle to signal for help if needed, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place, moist towelettes, garbage bags, pliers, manual can opener, portable chargers and backup batteries.
The list above is good, but there are additional items that are strongly recommended to have in your kits. Since spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu such as masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Other important items include prescription medications, non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, infant formula, bottles and diapers if you have very young children, pet food, cash or traveler’s checks, important family documents, matches, books, games, puzzles or other activities for children, and anything else that is important to your family.
Where you store your kit is also very important, since you never know where or when disaster will strike. It is recommended to have kits in multiple places like at your workplace, in your car, and at home. It is also important that all members of your household know where all of these kits are located in case they need to grab it if the time comes.
Once you have made your kit it is important to maintain it, so it is ready when you need it. It is recommended to keep any food in a cool, dry place in tightly closed plastic or metal containers. It is also important to replace any expired items as you need, as well as re-think your needs every year. This gives you the opportunity to update your kit as your family’s needs change. The Texas Department of State Health Services also reminds everyone to label your medications and any necessary medical equipment with your name and contact information.
If this all seems like a lot to remember, don’t worry. The Texas Department of State Health Services has a disaster supply checklist available on their website at https://texasready.gov/build-a-kit/disaster-supply-checklist.html.