Emergency preparedness response includes having an emergency supply kit on hand, a must for every family, and especially for the self-reliant homesteader. Ice storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, blackouts or even terrorist attacks are likely to happen to anyone at anytime.
And now with the threat of bioterrorism, the chances that you may have to flee your home at short notice are now even greater.
If a dirty bomb goes off in your area, would you be able to get out at short notice with enough food and water to last everyone in your family until you are able either to return home or help reaches you?
According to Homeland Security, every family should know the proper emergency preparedness response and keep an emergency supply kit near the door with enough food, water and supplies to last everyone in your family for at least three days.
More importantly, these supplies should be assembled and packed before there is an emergency so when needed, you can grab your gear and leave your home within five minutes.
Not only is the proper emergency preparedness response to have an emergency supply kit with sufficient food and water (at least one gallon per family member per day), but you should also have a source of light in case there is no power, a blanket for warmth, matches and a radio. You should have a system worked out and practice it regularly so you can shut down your home system in ten minutes.
A hand-crank lantern with radio is not only handy in an emergency, it could also be life-saving.
Come up with a family meeting place, and make certain everyone in your family knows about it. Have drills on a monthly basis.
Learn where the shut-off valve is for your utilities before an emergency and then keep a wrench or pliers handy where you can locate them quickly.
Such tools are relatively inexpensive to buy and priceless in an emergency, so keep one in your toolbox and the other in your emergency pack so you'll always have it.
Ideally, your emergency preparedness response should be to be able to close up your house and be out the door with sufficient supplies in your emergency supply kit within ten minutes of learning of the emergency.
Here's a partial list of what you should have on hand. Adapt your emergency supply kit to suit your family and your particular needs. You will need to keep all of your supplies in a backpack. That way you can carry your pack and still keep your hands free if necessary.
You will need one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for both drinking and for cleanliness.
Since water itself is so hard to carry (although you can keep a water jug in the trunk of your car), you should have a good emergency water filter system in your emergency preparedness response kit.
You will also need a three-day supply of non-perishable food. MREs - short for Meal, Ready to Eat - are self-contained meals in lightweight packaging. They were created by the U.S. Military for service members in combat. They are high in calories and energy, are designed not to make your thirsty and supply you with 1,200 calories per package - enough to last you through the day. You can find them here.
You will also need a radio as well as a NOAA Weather Radio with sufficient batteries for both in your emergency supply kit.
If you can get a hand crank radio that would be even better.
Also include a whistle so you can signal for help.
Next, you will need a first aid kit with sterile dressings, soap and antibiotic towelettes, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, eye wash solution, a thermometer - in case of a biological attack, and any prescription medications or supplies you would normally need.
It's a good idea to have a medical kit like this one.
A biological terrorist attack could leave the air contaminated, so include enough dust masks for every member of your family in your emergency supply kit. In addition, include plastic sheeting, scissors and duct-tape so you can make a clean-air shelter, if necessary.
You should also keep Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation in your emergency supply kit. And finally, if you have canned goods, you should keep a can opener in your kit and maps of the area you live in in your emergency supply kit.
If you are on a prescription, be sure to include that, with an extra
pair of glasses in your emergency supply kit. If you have a baby, keep
extra formula and diapers on hand. If you have a pet, you will want to
have pet food and extra water.
You will also need important documents, such as insurance, identification and bank account records. Keep these in a waterproof container.
A watertight box will keep your important documents safe in an emergency.
Keep sleeping bags or warm blankets in the trunk of your car along with a change of clothing for each family member along with sturdy shoes.
Keep a bottle of chlorine bleach in your trunk, along with a medicine dropper. Dilute one part of the bleach to nine parts water, and you have a disinfectant. It can also be used to treat water in an emergency. Put 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. If you go this route, do not use scented bleach, color-safe bleach or bleaches with added cleaners.
Keep extra feminine supplies on hand. Also have matches in a waterproof container or waterproof matches. Paper cups, paper plates, plastic utensils and paper towels are also a boon to have on hand.
Also remember that boredom is a factor you will have to deal with, especially if you have children.
To keep them occupied while you spend time in a shelter waiting out a storm or other emergency, keep books, games, puzzles, paper and pencils on hand.
Related article: Crucial, outdoor survival skills you need to know.
A travel game kit like this one will keep your kids occupied in an emergency.