What's in *Your* Disaster Kit?

Here in the Bay Area people like to say that it's not a question of whether we're ever going to experience a disaster, but when it's going to happen. We haven't had a major earthquake since Loma Prieta in '89 but we've had wildfires in Santa Cruz, El Nino flooding and landslides, and goodness knows what. We are fortunate that we haven't ever experienced a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or the New Orleans flooding-- but it's important to remember that a disaster doesn't have to be a major disaster. It can be as localized as your house catching on fire. So it's important to be prepared.

In the spirit of being prepared, I attended a talk and demonstration given by the California Volunteers for Bay Area bloggers, including bloggers from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Techmamas, It's My Life, The Silent I, Xiaolinmama, FreitasFamily, WhosTheBoss, and our host, Citymama. Volunteers went over some tips that every family should know about being prepared for a disaster, and we walked through Citymama's chic apartment and discussed ways for her to make it more disaster-ready. I left feeling empowered with all the knowledge I had gained, and determined to do more to prepare my own family.

I won't list down everything that we went through in our demonstration -- Robyn from Who's the Boss already has a comprehensive, informative summary of our disaster preparedness talk And I won't go through all the details of what should be in your family disaster plan -- you can download everything you need from the CalVolunteers website, including a customizable book for kids. But I will go through the contents of the disaster kit that California Volunteers presented us at the end of the event. If you don't have one yet, it's super-easy to make one. Just grab a backpack and stuff it with the following supplies:

1) A flashlight and batteries. We were given a solar-powered flashlight/radio, which also had a crank handle so you could power it up by winding the handle for a couple of minutes.

2) A first aid kit. You can buy one at any drugstore, or you can assemble one yourself.

3) A blanket. The one in our kit was one of those insulating foil blankets, but if you have the space, I suppose any blanket will do. If you've ever been given one of those Slankets as a present, here's where it can go.

4) Food. That protein brick is definitely something you'd only want to eat in an emergency, so I intend to throw some energy bars into the backpack as well.

5) Water. We received water purifying tablets as well as drinking water in foil packets, but I suppose bottled water works just as well.

6) Personal Hygiene items. Everything in the photo above falls under the "What if we need to take refuge in our car or a church or a gym or some other shelter": Baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, cleansing cloths, tampons and freshening spray. I'm not suggesting you pack your entire skincare regimen, but these are small "luxuries" that will help you feel human in inhumane conditions.

Everything fits neatly into a regular-sized backpack. You should have one handy in your home, and another in your car. It's a small but significant step towards preparing you and your family for a disaster!

Can't seem to get around to putting one of these together? Would you like to receive one of these kits, all ready-made? I'm giving away 12 disaster kits on Bonggamom Finds -- head on over to my giveaway post and leave a comment to enter.


Peppermint said...

this goes in my to-do list! =)

Unknown said...

i think the first-aid kit and the wipes would be the most beneficial. we use wipes for everything...

karenmed409 said...

I think the Water purifer and a blanket would be the most important.
karenmed409 at comcast dot net

judybrittle said...

The first aid kit would be the most important.

Shawna said...

I think the First Aid Kit would be the most important item.


auntrene said...

This kit is fantastic, I can think of somethings I might add to make it more personalized for my family but this is a great start. Thanks for the information.
itsjustmerene2003 at yahoo dot com

Kidazy said...

The hand crank radio is a definite must have. Being stranded without contact to anyone in the outside world and no knowledge of what is going on around us would be awful!

Jblanton said...

flashlight and batteries- I need to make sure we have plenty of batteries

Peggy said...

I know I would like is the cleansing cloths because if you don't have water it would be welcome

Michele P. said...

the water purifier is important because you may not have access to bottled water for some time. Here in Maine, in an event such as an ice storm, the blanket is also very important!

micaela6955 at msn dot com