As hurricane Sandy made clear, you can never be too ready for a natural disaster to strike. Even if the brunt of the storm passes you by, or you’re far from the epicenter of the earthquake, you could still be left without power and other services. Here are five ways to prepare yourself for a disaster.
Food and water. Water is more important than food, of course. If you want to stockpile water, the basic rule is one gallon per person per day, for at least three days. If you don’t have the space to store water, you can stock water purification tablets. If you want to stockpile food, several companies now offer big buckets of emergency food for up to 330 meals, which is an easy way to store a lot of food that you won’t be tempted to dip into when you only need to make a regular grocery run.
Radio. If your power is knocked out, that means your television and Internet are knocked out as well. And if you don’t have cell service, you’ll be in the dark, information-wise, without a radio. A battery operated radio is inexpensive, just remember to store it without the batteries inside. The last thing you want is to miss an evacuation order because you don’t have a $7 radio.
Light. Again, if the power goes out, you’ll be sitting in darkness without a light source. Stock at least one flashlight (again, batteries outside) and perhaps some candles. Having light source supplies can make a scary night considerably more comfortable.
First aid. You can buy an inexpensive first aid kit to treat everything from cuts to burns. You may also want to consider stockpiling your mind with first aid knowledge as well, and take a class in first aid or CPR. In the event of a disaster, hospitals will be jammed up with the most crucial cases. Your sprain or burn will be very low on the priority list.
Power. If cell phone service is available after a disaster, having a solar charger can be the difference between staying connected and being isolated. Today’s smart phones can not only keep you connected by phone, but you would be able to use the Internet and other tools as well. Solar chargers vary quite a bit in both efficiency and price, so find the balance that’s right for you.