“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. Today and forever more, Benjamin Franklin’s words stand just as true as they were when he uttered them. Most people who live ordinary, safe, comfortable lives do not attach too much importance to the idea of preparedness. Yet it is preparedness alone that can ensure survival in unexpected or dangerous situations. The most important of these are natural disasters: they must be prepared for at all times. Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes have massive potential for causing destruction, and it is very much possible that despite preparations and warnings, people will be injured or even lose their lives. However, in general, you can maximize your chances of survival and also the possibility of saving your dear ones if you keep disaster survival kits handy.
The time to prepare such a kit is not after you see the flood warning on television – the time to prepare it is today and right now, because a good survival kit is meticulously planned and well stocked with all possible items of need. Let us go over a few disasters that can occur and how to prepare for them.
The most dangerous of possibilities is an earthquake, because there is no foolproof earthquake warning system in place anywhere in the world that can caution the population in time for them to be evacuated. Hence you must keep earthquake survival kits in your home, office and your car, so that it would be close at hand no matter where you are when disaster strikes. A basic earthquake survival kit would include, most importantly, first aid items and a first aid manual. You must be well stocked on bandages, sterile gauze, pain killers, sharp scissors, safety pins, alcohol swabs, tranquilizers to deal with trauma and shock, disinfectant wipes and cold compresses. Furthermore, severe earthquakes may cause temporary homelessness for many people as buildings cave in. Therefore, non perishable food items o r those having long shelf lives should be stocked along with first aid items.
For volcanic eruptions, since you would probably have to leave your house in a hurry, vehicle kits are the best option. These include all the items that the earthquake kit should have, and apart from those, at least two changes of clothing should be there and there should be greater focus on food and water supplies. A radio transmitter with extra batteries should be kept too, in case you get trapped somewhere or need to contact the rescue services at any time. For floods and hurricanes too, the survival kits are similar. You will probably be evacuated very quickly in case of one of these, and hence you should have an overnight bag ready to load into your car and first aid items in case of injury, as well as food and water to last at least 72 hours in case you are unable to escape your house or a shelter.
How should we prepare for all such possibilities at once? The answer is not as difficult as it looks. Many of the items to be included in kits are similar, so you can stack them once in your store room, in an easy to carry bag, and replace them periodically if they need to be replaced. As far as toiletries, extra clothes, and water supplies are concerned, you can simply keep your things organized enough that in case of an emergency evacuation, it would be easy and quick to pack up and leave. Such precautions would give you a far less stressful time in case of disasters, and also ensure maximum chances of survival in such times.