Are you prepared for a natural disaster? In light of the increasing frequency of earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and floods in the world, you may be considering making a disaster kit for your home. In the case of an earthquake, tornado, or other disaster you may lose your electricity, gas, and running water. You may not be able to buy food or medical supplies to tide you over until help arrives. In extreme cases evacuation may be necessary. A disaster kit is essential to making sure that you and your loved ones can survive until outside help arrives.

 Here are some of the items you should include in your disaster kit. Pack them in a backpack or duffle bag that you can easily grab and take with you in a hurry.

  • Enough drinking water to last 3 days (about 6 litres)
  • Canned goods and non-perishable foods
    • Pack foods that won’t mould or rot without refrigeration, and that can be prepared and eaten without heat.
  • Portable radio
    • Relying on second-hand information can be dangerous. Make sure that you’re staying informed by official channels.
  • Flashlight
    • Copper coil flashlights are a worthwhile investment because they don’t need batteries to recharge. Just shake!
  • Batteries
    • Make sure that you have lithium or alkaline batteries for your radio and flashlight. If you have a hearing aid or the like, include a fully charged backup battery.
  • Candles
  • Waterproof matches
  • A full change of clothes and underwear, and a warm, waterproof outer layer
  • Medications
    • Make sure that these supplies are up to date, and that there are enough to last for a few days.
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution

Make sure that you have a government-issued picture ID (e.g. a driver’s license), and cash available. Other helpful items include thermal blankets (they usually come in a sealed package), a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a plastic bag of dryer lint for starting fires. Women should be sure to add feminine hygiene products. Your pack will be heavy if you’ve prepared properly.

You can also buy disaster kits online. These usually include items like radios, thermal blankets, flares, and first aid kits. You’ll need to supplement the items that the disaster kits won’t have, such as inhalers or contact lenses.

Disasters can strike at any time. Make sure that you’re prepared for the possibility of evacuation, and that you have an exit plan for your home.  Keep your disaster kit in an easily accessible location, not in a closet or cupboard where it could be buried under fallen items. Make sure that you know where the nearest evacuation site is located. A small amount of planning on your part and a well-stocked disaster kit could make a difference between life and death.