1st Disaster Preparedness Kit

Looking at the calendar I am bewildered by the fact that we are already in September. How can can it be? But September is much more than the prelude to fall; it is National Preparedness month, which brings me to a very important task in my overdue, to-do list: my very first emergency kit.

I set out to put together a kit early this summer but as always I found many ways to occupy my time doing other things. But today that task is going to be checked off of my list. Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Get the info: I went to the website Red Cross Ready to make sure I had all the necessary knowledge required to start my kit.
  2. Did some shopping: Buy a Disaster preparedness kit from the American Red Cross online store
  3. Personalize it: this is the fun part! After getting your pre-made disaster preparedness kit, you need to make it your own. So here are some of my personal touches!

My customization pieces are simple but very important. Beside the obvious water and food for 3-days, flashlight, batteries, radios, important phone numbers and first aid kit, I needed a the following life essential items.

  1. Who let the dogs out?– I own a dog named Tito and if there is an emergency I want to make sure he has what he needs until we can get help-things like a water dish, food, toys and cuddly doggy blankets.
  2. Entertainment– I need a book at all times, so I packed one of the classics, a book that I can read over and over again and I never get tired of it. In this case it was Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” to continue with the theme of the day!
  3. Fashion- I know how important it is for me to look good in order to feel good, so I have added a comfortable, yet stylish change of clothes along with a pair of groovy sneakers. In the end what I have learn from this experience is that an emergency kit is an evolving project, there is no way you can just leave it there and forget about it. The food and water, for one, have to be rotated if you don’t want to be caught eating food that expired in 2008. But it is more than that, your conditions change, the phone numbers of your loved ones change and your taste changes too, so the best thing is to mark in your calendar a date, set out sometime six month down the road, to update your emergency kit. This is perhaps the most important step. Because as I say, what is the use of last season kit in today’s emergency runways?

Barbie Martinez is a Red Cross volunteer. What would you put in your disaster kit? Leave a comment and let us know!

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