HOW TO CREATE A DISASTER KIT
A complete kit will work for any of the various emergencies we might face on the Central Coast.Using federal, state and local suggestions, The Tribune has created a reader’s guide that includes barebones essentials along with a clip-out shopping checklist for a more comprehensive kit.
How much do you need: A gallon per person per day, for at least three days. A family of four would need 12 gallons.
Notes: The frugal water stasher should fill up old soda bottles and put them in a cool, dark place, changing the water every six months. Otherwise, buy a few gallons in plastic containers at the market. You can also store extra water in the freezer, so if the power fails, you’ll really have an ice box that will keep food cold for longer.
How much do you need: Varies, but plan to have enough food for three days.
Notes: Look for non-perishable canned foods. Emergency Services Coordinator Ron Alsop suggests buying canned soup that doesn’t require extra water. For easy opening, buy brands that come with a pull-tab top. Also consider energy bars, protein shakes and dried fruit. For the hard-core disaster planner, military rations called Meals Ready to Eat can be purchased online for $80 per dozen.
What it costs : A decent first-aid kit can cost as little as $15.
Notes: Be sure to include any prescription medications in your first-aid kit. It’s a good idea to take a basic first aid/CPR course so you can treat your family’s minor injuries — scrapes, bruises or strains. In a real disaster, the medical system will likely be taxed with serious ailments.
RADIO, FLASHLIGHT, BATTERIES
Notes : There is no set emergency radio station in the county, but chances are, local stations will be airing disaster-related news. “If you’re not hearing emergency information, keep tuning that radio,” County Emergency Services Coordinator Ron Alsop said. To be fully self-reliant, consider emergency radio/flashlights powered by hand crank, sold at hardware stores and online.
How much do you need: One change, along with rain gear and warm clothes.
Notes: Plastic bags can be used in a pinch for rain gear, but it’s best to have a good jacket and warm pants. Avoid cotton — if it gets wet, it’ll get cold. Fleeces and wool stay warm when wet.
Another tip: Don’t toss old sturdy shoes. Throw them in the disaster duffel bag so you can have a change of shoes that will protect your feet from broken glass.