If a natural disaster hit right now “Are You Prepared?” Do you have a 3-day supply of food and water for each member of your household set aside and ready to go in the event you cannot shelter in place?
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a major jolt like Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami devastation, and the subsequent Tsunami Alerts for Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area to get people to start taking action to “be prepared” for disasters.
The good news is, if you don’t have the time to go to an emergency supply store, in a pinch – most, if not all of the basic emergency supplies you need can be found at your local grocery store, warehouse store, and/or home supply center.
Emergency Nutrition Tip: Stocking up on sports bars and drinks with a long shelf life are a terrific option. These foods and beverages are usually designed to contain extra vitamins and/or macro-nutrient supplementation to aid the body with sports nutrition for fueling energy and/or for sports recovery. Plus, they can be purchased by the dozen in handy boxes and/or containers to make storage and transportation easier and more efficient.
Food for Thought: Those insulated, reusable grocery bags many of the stores sell make great emergency food storage and transportation bags. Keep a few of these bags on hand in case you need to pack up some of your perishables such as fruits and veggies in a hurry. You can also store perishable foods in them in addition to a cooler if you lose power and ongoing refrigeration is an issue. Having a few ice packs in the freezer will aid in this process, which can be slipped into the insulated bags to extend the time the perishable food will be kept fresh.
As part of a series of public services announcements produced and aired in the Bay Area, Captain Maggie McDonogh of the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry and I have compiled the following key actions everyone should take to “Be Prepared” TODAY:
Create a Family Emergency Plan outlining what each family member is to do in the event of an emergency. It is especially important to review what the actions will be depending on the different scenarios that could occur during a disaster. For instance, outline what actions each family member should take if the disaster hits when they are at home, at school, at work, etc. It is also important to have an alternate meeting place established away from your home in the event you cannot get to your house. Also, determine a contact outside of the state whom everyone can check in with to give updates on safety status. Often times during a state of emergency – you can call out of state but the lines are jammed due to heavy volume in your general local.
Stay Informed. Keep abreast of what’s happening and the alerts affecting your particular town and community so you can plan ahead, take the precautionary steps advised to secure your home and property if needed, and determine alternate travel routes to potentially avert problems arising from traffic buildups that may occur due to evacuations, flooding, fire damage, etc.
Build up to 3 Emergency Preparedness Kits. Have 1 main kit for your home with enough food and water supplies for at least 3 days per person, 1 in your car, and 1 for your office if you work away from home. Below is a list of the basic emergency supplies to include in your kits:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food. Sports drinks and protein bars are good choices.
- Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
- Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
- Matches and waterproof container.
- Extra clothing.
- Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener. (think canned soups, instant cereals)
- Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
- Cash and coins.
- Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
- Other items to meet your unique family needs.
Chances are, if you have to evacuate immediate – there will be little time to gather additional items outside of your pre-packed emergency kit so set aside some warm clothing for each family member and bedding such as a sleeping bag for each that you can grab and take with you if sheltering in place is not an option:
- Warn jacket or coat, waterproof preferably.
- Long pants. (Thermals, long underwear).
- Long sleeve shirt. (Think layers).
- Sturdy shoes. (Waterproof options plus extra socks)
- Hat, mittens, and scarf.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person).
For a detailed list of additional items recommended by FEMA click here
Other considerations are to have on hand are a week’s worth of prescription medications on hand, extra cash, gas in your car, and cell phone charger.
Customize the above list and suggestions to suit your family’s specific needs to have what each family member needs to exist without aid for at least 3 days, diapers, formula, etc., for babies; and having board games and toys in your kit for your children will “keep the peace” and the sanity if you find yourself in a shelter.
You may also want to check in with any elderly neighbors who may require assistance in the event of an emergency or an evacuation. Think ahead of time and prepare an emergency bag for your pets. Include extra blankets, leashes, and 3 days of food and water with their carriers. Having a plan in place before a disaster strikes is the best course of action to take so that no matter what “Mother Nature” has in store for us – we will “Be Prepared.”
Yours in Good Living, Aprilanne
Aprilanne Hurley SFN is a Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, San Francisco Nutrition Examiner for hornface.com, and Health Expert for California Living, the Bay Area’s original lifestyle show featuring California’s trends in food, travel, and healthy living. Hurley’s new book, The Party Girl Diet is a healthy, sustainable lifestyle plan combining today’s groundbreaking health and nutrition research with Hurley’s penchant for good living to deliver a revolutionary new diet and lifestyle that lets you “Keep the Party Going…While You Lose the Weight!”
Contact Aprilanne with your nutrition and lifestyle questions @ aprilanne@DietDayNews.com