When the “Big One” hits, running water and electricity could be lost for days and there is no telling if and where you might be stranded.
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That’s why American Red Cross volunteer, Mark Stapf says it is necessary to have multiple survival kits (he calls them “Go Kits”) stored in different locations.
“Think of the three locations: your home, your work and in your car,” says Stapf. “It’s got to be a kit that works for you, you can buy it pre-made, and it may be a nice start but it might not be things you like and the items you need for your house, your location.”
When assembling a Go Kit, Staph suggests a sturdy backpack is a good place to start. If you need something bigger for home?
“You should have a sturdy container that will resist light and store it in a place where it’s not going to get too much sunlight and too much heat or too cold,” said Stapf.
Next, make an itemized content list of the items you pack. Make sure the list includes the expiration dates of medications, food and batteries, and attach it to the kit. Periodically check the list and rotate out the expired items.
Staph suggests opting for a hand crank radio and flashlight in order to avoid the problem of batteries dying.
Water is a huge priority.
“A gallon of water per person per day,” said Staph. “(Enough for) seven days is better than three because water lines may be disrupted and even if the (water) pressure is on, the water may be contaminated.”
Staph points out that you don’t want to waste the water on personal hygiene, he suggests packing baby wipes in your kits.
As for food, keep it simple and don’t forget about your pets.
“You need to consider ‘hey how am I going to prepare it?’ If it needs a lot of preparation it is probably not something you want in your kit,” said Staph.
“High energy snack foods: granola bars, nuts, beef jerky, things like that will last a while but could also be food for you in an emergency and cereal is another example.”
Sealable plastic bags are also a good addition.
“They can keep things dry, they can keep things from the environment, they can organize your things inside of your back,” said Staph.
He also said it is important to stash away three to seven days of all important medication, adding your local pharmacy won't have the medicines that you need ready for you.