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How Prepared Are You?

The March 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
People across the globe watched in horror as the ocean swelled up and consumed much of northern Japan recently, immobilizing the lives of nearly 18,000 unsuspecting people in an instant and forever changing the lives of those that survived. Two things reiterated their presence for me: nature's fury and life's fragility, neither of which we can control. What we can control, to an extent, is our chance of survival following a disaster.
Toward that end, our family recently upgraded our "emergency survival kit," including our supplies of food, water, and tools. Based on a presentation that my son gave last year at a GATE conference, I have outlined some of the basic emergency preparedness strategies you can use for any disaster.
Remember, food and water are absolute must-haves; space and other factors will dictate how many of the remaining strategies you want to employ. Obviously, planning for a worst-case scenario is impractical. A baseline planning scenario assumes a three-day water and power outage, but that your house is still intact and livable.
So, go on, plan your preparedness today. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
  • 3-day Supply of Water
    • One gallon of water per person; don't forget your pets
    • Change this water every six months
  • 3-day Supply of Food
    • Canned juices, milk, freeze-dried soups, whole grain cereals
    • Peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, granola bars, trail mix
    • Baby food, food for the elderly, pet food
    • Check for and replace expired food every six months
I recently ordered "Emergency Survival Food Supply, 275 Meal Pack" from It's all vegetarian, costs $176.94, and has a shelf life of 20 years! Hopefully, I never have to use it.
  • First Aid
    • bandages, gloves, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, pain relievers, petroleum jelly, antiseptic liquids, antibacterial soap, medicine dropper, etc.
  • Tools
    • Flashlight, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, non-electric can opener, signal flare, tape, waterproof matches, pliers, wrench, paper, pencil, a camping stove, whistle
  • Sanitation, Clothes, Bedding, and Supplies
    • Toilet paper, soap, disinfectant, shoes, rain gear, warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, sunglasses, sun block, paper cups, plastic cutlery, garbage bags, cash, kitchen accessories
  • Documents
    • Copies of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks, bonds, social security number, credit card numbers and companies, bank account numbers, passports, immunization records, birth/marriage/death certificates
Check out FEMA's in-depth guide to citizen preparedness.

© copyright 2011-14 by Raji Lukkoor. All rights reserved.