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Surviving a Disaster

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surviving-a-disasterBe Prepared When a Disaster Hits.

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks off the coast of British Columbia, Canada… Tsunami warnings… Hurricane Sandy hammering the Eastern USA and parts of Eastern and Atlantic Canada…

Disaster can strike anywhere at any time and it is so important for you and your family to be prepared just in case.

How to Prepare for a Disaster

1. Heed the Warnings

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is listen to the authorities and heed any warnings, evacuation notices, or other safety notices that are issued. Never assume that the warnings will turn out to be for naught – it is better to be safe than sorry. I would rather take all recommended precautions and have nothing bad happen than not and have disaster strike. Even the experts cannot always give a prediction that is 100% accurate and it is best to err on the side of caution. It really can be a matter of life or death.

National and local news on TV, the radio, or the internet can often be a very good source of information, but be careful as some websites provide false information and photos. Only share information with others that has been verified or is from a reliable news source.

2. Stick Together

Help your neighbors and make sure they are informed and prepared as well – we need to help and look out for one another.

3. Advance Preparation

While we typically have some notice of storms or extreme weather, we typically do not have advance notice of things such as earthquakes or tornados. Having a basic survival kit on hand at all times can make a big difference to you and your family because after a disaster the things we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. A basic survival kit, as recommended by the Red Cross, includes the following items.

Basic Survival Kit Items

  • Bottled water (for drinking, washing, and flushing. Several gallons per person - enough for 3 days)
  • 3 days of non-perishable or canned food per person
  • Manual can-opener
  • Crank or battery-operated flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Cash in small bills (and some quarters as you may be able to use a public pay phone), medications, baby formula, other special-needs items

Other items you may want to include are:

  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Whistle
  • Dust masks
  • Work gloves
  • Blanket
  • Pocket knife or an “all in one” tool
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of phone numbers for emergency contact
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle

Your household disaster kit should be stored in an easily accessible location (not tucked away behind a pile of boxes in the garage). Put your items in a watertight container such as a plastic bin or a big garbage can with a lid and wheels. This will enable you to easily move your kit, or pack it in your vehicle if being evacuated. If you have pets, also make sure you have the basics for them as well.

If you have other items in your kit, let us know below!

Be prepared and stay safe! If you have any additional recommendations, let me know on Maternity Corner.

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