Please note: After several successful years, the Open Minds blog will be closing. For further details, please visit our FAQ

Currently showing: Climate/natural disasters > Disaster risk

05 Jan 17 23:27

The turn of the New Year provides us each with the opportunity to reflect on the year behind us, and work toward bettering ourselves for the one ahead. What this looks like is different for everyone. For some, it's achieving health and wellness goals; for others, it's achieving financial success. 

One great resolution for 2017 is to create an emergency supply kit to safeguard your family in the event of a disaster. It's a project you can all work on together and it will give you peace of mind knowing you have supplies in place for when the unpredictable happens. 

To get started, FEMA pulled together this great resource page that outlines initial items to include in a basic emergency supply kit. This document provides excellent guidance for how to create a basic kit and outlines what necessities to have for three days following an emergency. This is of course just a guide, so be sure to include items that are vital to the needs of each individual family member. 

When creating your emergency supply kit, it is also important to consider your location and the perils to which you are exposed. For example - I live in a rural area in the Pacific Northwest, a region that is vulnerable to very severe earthquakes. I live in a new wood frame home that should hold up well when the big one occurs. I expect plenty of contents damage and some damage to the chimney (yes, I have purchased earthquake insurance!) but I expect my house to be structurally sound following an event. My family should be safe. 

However, chances are we will not have water, gas or electricity for a while after a disaster. We could leave the area, but one cannot drive very far without crossing a bridge. Most are not built to current seismic standards and may be impassable. In a large event, it would likely be a long time before services are restored and supplies arrive from outside the area. As a result, local emergency management professionals recommend that residents in my community have enough food and water to last two weeks – a much longer period than the three days recommended for a standard emergency kit.

My kit will therefore include a two week supply of water and non-perishable food. It will also include a camp stove with a gas tank. I am also investing in a crank radio that can power cell phones and tablets so I can stay informed and connected to the outside world. 

Are you prepared? Have you considered needs specific to where you live and the perils to which you are exposed? While you might not want to think about your family in an emergency situation, the truth is it might happen, and if so, you'll want to be equipped with an emergency supply kit to help sustain them.

Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Resilience

Location: McMinnville, OR, United States

1 Comment

Iain Bailey - 6 Jan 2017, 3:54 p.m.

It's really interesting to read about how you are thinking so many steps ahead -- beyond the damage of your own four walls. As an additional resource, I recommend the SCEC publication Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country. Here is the page on emergency kits: . The page on disaster plans is also worth reading.

If you would like to leave a comment, please, log in.