Longer-Term Disaster Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything!
It’s unlikely that any severe storm will lead to a collapse of infrastructure such that residents are left without electricity, or unable to procure basic supplies like clean water and food, for any extended period of time. However, as evidenced just last winter by the debilitating snow storms all over the U.S., as well as in infamous natural disasters such as Katrina, sometimes power outages and other damage caused by storms can wreak havoc for far longer than we are prepared to deal with. We hope that the following easy-to-follow advice can help you and yours to be ready in the event of a serious disaster and lack of essential services. At Supercell Shelters, we believe that there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
Have a “Deep Pantry” at the ready. A surprising amount of people would find themselves with very few dinner options should the power go out and leave them without a source of refrigeration or even means of cooking food. Frozen items thaw rapidly and, unless consumed immediately, are quickly spoiled, while refrigerated items rarely last longer than a day. Even if nonperishable canned and pickled items, along with dried bulk products like beans, rice, pasta and flour, don’t normally make an appearance in your diet, stocking up on these items and storing them in waterproof bags or containers could prove to be a lifesaver in an emergency. Also concentrate on high-energy, high-calorie foods like peanut butter, crackers, nuts, granola, dried fruit, canned meats and powdered milk. Multivitamins, spices and iodized salt are wise investments as well. You should also stock roughly a gallon of water per day, per family member.
While these items are long-lasting and easily stored, many actually do expire eventually; keep a basic list of when each item was purchased and strive to swap it out with a replacement roughly once a year, using the “old” version for that week’s meals.
Keep a kit of emergency supplies. In case you don’t have electricity or running water, this list of basic supplies to have on hand (ideally in your storm shelter, for easy access) will help you to cook, stay warm and stay healthy throughout the duration.
• Battery-powered radio
• Battery-powered flashlight
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Can and bottle opener
• Garbage bags
• Changes of clothing
• Various tools that can be used to turn utilities on or off, or fix broken items
• Utensils, plates, cups and bowls
• Paper and pencils
• Bedding materials
• Waterproof matches
• Signal flare
• Unscented household bleach without detergent (for sanitizing water, in emergency situations)
• Important documents, such as copies of identification and insurance policies. Store these in a waterproof container.
Don’t forget to pack small, durable toys, like crayons and paper, to help keep children distracted; if you have pets, you should also keep a supply of their food on hand as well. Any family members who are on medications or who have other special needs should have a ready supply of those items available to them, as well.
Write down useful numbers and information. By having the phone numbers and addresses of friends, family and local emergency services and shelters along with hospitals, churches, community centers and even grocery stores, you’ll be better prepared to check up on those important to you as well as keep tabs on the situation by being able to contact the appropriate authorities.
Through selling tornado storm shelters to North Little Rock, AR, and surrounding areas, we’ve had plenty of time to talk with the professionals as well as our clients to see what’s worked for them when it comes to disaster preparedness. We hope this basic guide will prove helpful to you; be sure to take advantage of the FEMA disaster preparation guidelines that are readily available to you online.