Would your family survive with only 8 cubic feet of supplies?
By Kevin R.R. Williams
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS It's one thing to consider good health when it's easily accessible. But how might you stay A Bit More Healthy in a natural disaster? Earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and flash floods have ravaged many in recent years. Even if these things are uncommon in your area, any of us could be a sudden victim of a power outage or severe traffic jam. Are you prepared for an emergency?
Don’t Depend On Your Friend’s Stash
People lightheartedly say, they'll get by on canned food in the pantry or call a well-stocked close friend. In all seriousness, when your friend is sacrificing his own meals for the sake of his family how do you think you'll fare? What if you're cut off from the outside world or cannot enter your home? Depending upon the scope of the disaster, it could take days for first responders (emergency medical personnel) to reach you.
How To Pack a Go Bag
We normally think that everything in our home is essential. What if we had 5 minutes to grab and go? There's no time to linger over precious memories when faced with a life-or-death catastrophe. It's good to have a family emergency kit with enough supplies for at least three days that is easily accessible. This means having a Go Bag in your home and vehicles. [1-3] A backpack or container that is 2 feet wide, tall, and deep is just 8 cubic feet. Throwing a few essentials in a suitcase or backpack is better than nothing. More comprehensive preassembled emergency kits are available online.  These kits generally include items you might neglect to pack in haste.
I prefer to upgrade preassembled kits. Emergency-ration food may last long and have vital nutrients but mixed nuts provide more flavorful protein. Pop-top, ready-to-eat canned food can last a couple of years. A jar of peanut butter will go a long way too. It's wise to include personal hygiene items, basic first-aid supplies, hand wipes, rags, rope, duct tape, and about $100 cash on hand. If you store extra medication in your Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires. Whatever digital essentials you need to survive should backed up to a USB flash drive or offsite via DropBox or countless similar services. What happens if five members of the family are holed up in the attic for three days with no running water? How will you stay warm with no power? Your emergency kit should take these things into account.
To keep costs down, kits often include compact, inferior quality tools. Figure out which items are essential, like communication. In rural areas, you may need a rugged saw to cut through debris. A car kit may include a LifeHammer or ResQMe keychain to break glass and cut through jammed seat belts. Relying on batteries that have lost their juice is not a great plan. A combo solar- and battery-powered radio flashlight is a good investment. A quality Swiss Army (or multi-purpose) knife is a great survival tool.
The reason I recommend starting with a preassembled kit is because we at least have basic necessities right away. If we procrastinate, the list of essential items may never be be added.
How to Keep Perishables Fresh
Items within emergency kits don't last forever. Batteries and foodstuffs need to be replaced periodically. Opening up kits and checking dates is an overlooked task. Type or write down a content list along with item expiration dates. Post the list on the refrigerator. If you're more tech-savvy, you can also set up calendar alerts but it's still good to have a visible list posted for everyone to see. Some people use daylight savings time as a reminder to check the dates of perishables in survival kits. As items near expiration, add them to the next shopping list before consuming them.
Take a look at some of the kits available from quakekare.com. They offer survival kits for a variety of circumstances. By being prepared for a disaster you'll rest easier and remain A Bit More Healthy when it counts most.