The saying “Be Prepared” has long been uttered respectfully by Boy Scouts across the United States. As one who was blessed to achieve an Eagle Scout rank, I look back fondly upon lessons learned in readiness and self-reliance.
With record-breaking tornadoes leveling the South, flooding threatening thousands of homes, terrorists’ frightful scheming and the constant threat of living in an earthquake zone, it is apparent that a heightened sense of readiness is required. Think of those who had to evacuate for what may be months from their homes in Japan near the failing nuclear plant. The Bible admonishes us to plan for the future:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:28-30
There are several ways we can be more prepared. Items listed can be packed in “go-bags” that allow a quick exit. There is a hierarchy of needs, form most urgent to least, but they are all important.
- · Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation;
- · Non-perishable food with a can opener, all in a backpack or duffle bag;
- · NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, a flashlight and extra batteries for both;
- · First aid kit and whistle to signal for help;
- · Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
- · Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, and hatchet or axe to help rescuers;
- · Cell phone with chargers, and important phone numbers;
- · Important documents such as powers of attorney, living will, driver’s license, pictures of your family and pets, cash, ATM card, Health insurance card, insurance policies, and tax records;
- · Comfortable clothing and blankets, ponchos and duct tape;
- · Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other needs your family may have;
- · Some will want to stockpile extra gasoline or diesel; and
- · Some may prefer to keep a firearm and ammunition.
Consider well ahead of time what you'd take if you had only a:
- ü a day's notice,
- ü a couple of hours' notice to pack the car, or
- ü five minutes' notice to 'get out now' (the go bag)
Make arrangements for places to stay well ahead of time. Make a deal: If there's an emergency/evacuation, they can come to your home, or you to theirs. Crashing on someone's sofa or camping in their yard is infinitely preferable to a public shelter.
If you have to take medications, make sure you keep them all in one place, and can sweep them into the go bag without any searching. A "shelter-in-place" kit and a "to-go" bag can share items as long as they can be moved from one pace to the other quickly. For example, it makes sense to have three-days worth of water in your shelter-in-place kit but take a day's worth with you when you leave. However, it is always best to keep things compartmentalized in case you have to shelter in place and then later leave. Remember that if you are prepared you may be able to minister to those who are not.
A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.
May God bless and protect your family.
Mr. Peel is a local attorney who practices in the areas of Accident, Injuries, Malpractice and Nursing Home Neglect. Mr. Peel often addresses churches and clubs and can be contacted through www.PeelLawFirm.com, wherein other articles can also be found.