Something to do – Today

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 5:31 pm in

A tornado missed my house by about 1000 feet this past Saturday at about 2:30am. Thankfully there was almost no damage done to the house I live in, indeed, even though several houses in my neighborhood were extensively damanged, there were no injuries. This leads me to the purpose of this topic: prepare an emergency kit for you and your family now. Do not wait until a more opportune moment or ‘when you have the time’ because emergency situations do not wait and you can affect its impact upon you greatly with a little bit of preparation.

Make an emergency kit. Take a backpack and within it place a couple of bottles of water, some pre-wrapped energy or granola bars, a small first aid kit (band aids and anti-bacterial cream), a flashlight, a battery powered (or hand crank generator) radio, extra batteries, some matches in a watertight container, a space blanket (silverized, mylar sheet), a small pocket knife. To go a bit further take a change of clothes and an extra pair of shoes and wrap them in a large plastic (30 – 50 gallon) bag (the bag can be used as a rain coat). Make copies of your IDs and pack them in with your things along with a spare key to your car/bike/whatnot and house.

Now take this backpack kit an put it (along with those for the other members of your family) in a common place. This should be somewhere that can be quickly accessable like a hall closet, under your bed, packed in the trunk of your car (not as good a choice but better than nothing). The point of this particular style of kit is to have something to grab at a moments notice.

You might want to expand upon this topic and create a larger, ‘disaster stash’, stored in containers somewhere on your property which contains more food, a small cooking stove, blankets, water sanitation equipment, extra plastic bags, and etc. This type of stash is not as portable but would prove very useful if your home was made uninhabitable. There are many, many websites full of information on this subject.

Get a thumbdrive and encrypt it. Truecrypt is perfect for this (make sure you load Truecrypt on the same thumbdrive). Go to Portable Apps and load some apps on the thumbdrive such as a text editor (or Openoffice), a graphics program, etc. Get out your insurance policies, licenses, titles, deeds, and etc. so you can scan them and store the images on the drive. In addition, create a text document and list all accounts (along with phone numbers and such) and passwords. You might even want to export your websites and passwords from whatever browser you use too. As an extra step set up a free account online and store the encrypted file(s) there. You want to do this even if you have a fireproof safe in your home (how do you get to the safe if its under a couple of tons of debris, the area is radioactive, or worse).

Once you have your kit, prepare a plan. Where do you meet up outside the house? How do you get out of the house? Whom do you call? Young children are especially vulnerable in these situations but will surprise you with their ability to learn from simple practice drills.

Don’t wait.