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Photo Courtesy: Brant Ward. SF Chronicle. 6/3/13. http://www.realnewsreporter.com/?p=2364

When a natural disaster strikes, there is often little to no warning. Many times families are forced to flee in a moment’s notice. In this situation, all the emergency preparedness and food storage in the world becomes worthless if it is left behind. When I was 7 years old and living in Southern California, millions of people were suddenly awakened by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Los Angeles. I remember that my parents, my brothers, and I only had time to run out of the house, get in the car, and drive out to the street where we would be safe from anything that might fall during the earthquake. I remember sitting in the car hungry and listening to the radio waiting for word that it was safe to go back inside where we had plenty of food, warm clothes and beds.

Fortunately for us, the ordeal lasted only a few hours. But looking back, the situation could have been much worse. Had the earthquake damaged our home further making it unsafe to enter, we would have had no access to any of the food or emergency supplies we had stored there. The experience taught my family the importance of having a smaller food storage and emergency preparedness kit that could be grabbed in a moment’s notice in addition to our larger supply.

The basic idea behind an emergency preparedness kit is that it is all gathered in one place where it can be grabbed in seconds without putting yourself at greater risk. A coat closet near the front door is a great place to store an emergency prep kit. Storing a kit in your car isn’t a bad idea either. Ultimately, the goal is to have all the food and emergency supplies your family will need to get by for a few days all in one convenient location.

So with this goal in mind, you’ll need to think about what kinds of things to include in your family’s emergency preparedness kit. You can find literally hundreds of kit lists. Look through several of them and pay especially close attention to items that appear on all or most of the lists. I really like the list published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Here are some of the most important things to include in your family’s emergency prep kit:

• One gallon of water per person per day (for drinking and sanitation needs)
• At least a three day supply of food per person
• A battery powered radio
• GPS
• Map of your area and a compass
• Flashlight
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle
• Toiletries and sanitation supplies (including feminine supplies)
• Can opener (if you have canned food in your kit)
• A change of warm clothes for every family member
• Sleeping bags or blankets
• Plates, cups and eating utensils
• Important family paperwork such as insurance documents and bank account information for each family member
• Any other items specific to your family’s needs such as medicines or infant care items

You can find much more comprehensive lists on the internet. An easy way to get your family ready for a natural disaster is to purchase efoods’ grab-and-go kit. The family size kit comes with 2 weeks’ worth of food for four adults. It also comes with a stove, a water filter, a cook pot, eating utensils and other necessities. It all comes with a sturdy duffle bag that you can place near your door where you can quickly grab it on your way out of the home.

By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure that your family has everything they need to survive in the wake of a natural disaster.

Sources:
http://www.ready.gov/document/family-supply-list

*Photo Courtesy: Brant Ward. SF Chronicle. 6/3/13. http://www.realnewsreporter.com/?p=2364

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