The last few weeks I have been writing about the classes we undertook sponsored by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management(MEMA): Neighbors Helping Neighbors. (Previous posts:Sustainable & Resilient Communities, Disaster Readiness) Our final class was this past week and I am really thrilled that I took the time to be involved.
Since we moved to Maryland (August 2003) most of our natural disasters have only caused service interruptions of a week or less. If you remember the date, Hurricane Isabel hit us 2 weeks after we moved in to our nice little row home just across the street from waterfront. We quickly became educated in the need for preparing for these eventualities. Maybe it is 12 years later but the class was our next step in being ready and further educating us on areas where we may be weak.
The class information was well prepared and very well presented for anyone who is interested in not only being prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster, but those concerned about others within a community.
The overall takeaway from the class was getting oneself ready for eventual disasters or emergencies that may come along. Living on the east coast, our potential for hurricanes and flooding put us in a category of not if but when they will occur.
Although important to have a good mental attitude for any situation, but having a few supplies carefully crafted and stored is key to being in a position to survive AND to help others that are in need during a crisis.
FEMA & MEMA both recommend 3-7 days of necessary supplies, while our instructors think a 10 day supply is more adequate. I tend to lean in the more category, being somewhere between 10 and 30 days.
The basics of any emergency stock:
- Water-The suggested amount of water is 1 gal per person per day. With only 3 people in our household now (I sure this number will triple in case of real emergency-kids and their families) That means for a 14 day supply, we would need at minimum 42 gallons of fresh water. (# people X # days = absolute minimum gallons needed)
- Food-This is a gray area as to the amount needed, but having a good stock of foods on hand will be important to any survival plan. Be sure that it is shelf stable, long term storage. Don’t depend on fresh or frozen since during a heavy disaster there will most likely be no way to store these foods. If storing up canned foods (store bought) be sure to pack a can opener! Enter the homesteader: someone who grows and maintains a constant stream of food through gardening, aquaponics, or small animal husbandry. (rabbits, chickens, etc) Although as a suburban homesteader, we have home canned and dehydrated foods, we also have the ability with our greenhouse and aquaponics to refresh our food supply.
- Radio & flashlight-Needless to say these need to be battery operated and you will not be able to just plug and play in a grid down emergency. This could be supplemented with the use of portable solar power. Having a rechargeable battery pack through the use of solar panels makes life a little easier in the worst of disasters. I personally like Goal Zero products.
- Basic first aid-Bandages, compresses, eye wash, topical creams, scissors, tweezers, etc. During a disaster there is always the potential for some minor medical needs. Along with first aid, do you have anyone in your care that takes prescription medications on a regular basis? Having at least an extra month of those meds on hand could make the difference in that person surviving.
- Extra clothes, blankets, and compact emergency tools-I am talking an emergency supply bag, many may call it a bug-out bag, but no matter what you call it, it is a part of necessary preparedness.
If you are not able to maintain yourself and family, how are you going to be a benefit to those in need in your community?
For more in depth information I invite you to visit one of my favorite websites. A. H. Trimble , instructor, teacher, author in the art of being prepared for any emergency situation.