Lottery winner or disaster victim. What are the odds?
The odds are your house will not burn down. Odds are you will not be without power for a week straight this year. Odds are you won’t come home to find 6 feet of water in your basement. Odds are a chemical spill won’t require you to evacuate your home or have to create a safe room within your home to keep dangerous gases or particles out. Odds are you won’t get stuck in your car for hours and hours. Odds are you won’t get lost in the woods. Odds are you won’t get stuck on a cruise ship without power. Odds are a tornado won’t rip through your neighborhood. Odds are, your well won’t go dry this year. Odds are you have heard of all of the above occurring to someone else, either on the news or firsthand.
For each of the above situations you can spend less than $100 to make life much easier and be a whole lot more comfortable if one of those events occurred. A disaster is still a disaster but if you have food, water, and supplies available to you it is not as much of a crisis as it might otherwise be.
On the other hand, many of us do spend money, to protect ourselves, on some of the following items on the off chance that one of these events may occur.
We get car insurance, or are made to, in case of a car accident. Many of us have health insurance to financially protect ourselves or even so we can get treatment if we are sick or hurt. We get medical and physical checkups, even though most times nothing is wrong. Some people purchase trip insurance for their vacations.
There are lots of people who purchase lottery tickets. What are the odds of winning the lottery versus the odds of a disaster striking near your home? I think we all agree that an extra $100 in lottery tickets doesn’t increase our odds of winning the lottery all that much and can say $100 spent on disaster preparedness is the wiser choice.
When you put together a kit for an emergency consider storing it in a shed or even a neighbor’s house. If your house burns down, it won’t help much if your kit was in the house. If you store it in your house a go-bag should be easy to grab on the way out the door, not buried in the back of some forgotten closet.
What is an emergency kit?
- 96-hour kit – Contains supplies to get by on your own for 4 days. They tend to be stored in a large tote box and has supplies for multiple people. It likely will have supplies to deal with making your dwelling safer that other portable kits won’t have.
- Go-Bag – A portable version of the 96-hour kit. These tend to be one bag per person, but some go-bags have 4-day supplies for 2 or even 4 people. Contents fit in a book-bag sized container
- Car Kit – Blanket and supplies stored in each car. Less supplies than a Go-Bag. 1-2 days’ worth of supplies could come in real handy.
- EDC – Every Day Carry. Collection of tools that fit in a smaller pouch or purse.
Some items should be in each of the above types of kits. Having photos and documents encrypted on a USB stick takes up very little space and can be in each. A small flashlight also can be in each. Some items would not be in each. For example, putting 4 days’ worth of water in the smaller kits isn’t practical.
Along with your kit you need a plan. what if you can’t get home? Where do you meet? Create a backup meeting place in case you can’t get to the first meet up place. This is a 15-minute conversation you’ll have about an event that likely will never happen. However, if it does happen you are really going to wish you had this conversation if you did not.
Create a 96-hour kit today:
- 1 gallon of water per person per day = 3 gallons of water
- 4 days’ supply of food. This might be canned goods or freeze dried. High energy food like fruits, peanut butter, and trail mix.
- Pet food and supplies if needed
- baby food and formula if needed
- A first aid kit.
- Assorted bandages and gauze
- cleanser and soap
- safety pins
- non-latex gloves
- non-prescription drugs such as anti-diarrhea and aspirin
- space blanket
- A manual can opener
- duct tape
- plastic sheeting
- garbage bags
- pocket multi-tool
- signal flare
- dust mask
- hand crank and/or solar radio
- work gloves
- Documents (copies of originals, perhaps encrypted on a USB stick)
- pictures of family members and pets
- insurance papers
- house and car titles
- stocks and bonds
- immunization records, for people as well as pets
- work boots
- other suitable clothes