|Illustration courtesy of Sacramento County DHHS.|
According to an Oregon State University Extension publication, there are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first-aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a large, covered trash can, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag. Keep your kit in a convenient place known to all family members; keep a smaller version of the kit in the trunk of your car.Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more. Store 1 gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a 3-day supply of water per person (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for each person for food preparation/sanitation).
Store at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, include a can of portable cooking fuel such as Sterno. Select items that are compact and lightweight such as ready to eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, canned juices and the staples such as salt, sugar and other spices. In a time of stress, you might want to consider comfort foods as well.There are many, many other things that you might want to consider having on hand, such as the necessary first aid supplies, tools and supplies, clothing and bedding, sanitation supplies such as toilet paper and garbage sacks and any other special items for health-related reasons.
Lastly, if you do need to leave your home quickly for any reason, I would encourage you to have a 72-hour kit ready to throw in your vehicle or over your shoulder. This kit, or backpack needs to be easy enough for each person to carry their own set of supplies, yet have enough supplies to help you through a three-day period. While all this might seem like a lot of work now, it will pay dividends if an emergency ever does come into your life.