Combat Arms
2869 Grove Way
Castro Valley, California 94546-6709
Telephone (415) 538-6544
BBS: (415) 537-1777
Steven D. Ramseur

The American Red Cross and virtually every other emergency preparedness organization recommends that you keep a bare minimum of 72 hours, and preferably two weeks emergency supplies in your house. These articles should be in sufficient variety and quantity that your family could be essentially self-sufficient, with the possible exception of water, in the two week supply.

The reason for this is very simple. In the event of a major natural disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, or severe winter weather, no one will be available for at least 72 hours, and possibly as long as two weeks, to help you. The neighborhood I visited in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo was still without water or electricity 15 days after the storm. It simply takes this long to activate and deploy the emergency aid services in this country.

The following is a list of suggested items adapted from the Red Cross recommendations.

1) water - 2 quarts to 1 gallon per person per day. (store 72 hours worth in your well washed left over polycarbonate 2 liter soft drink bottles. Add 3 drops of unscented household bleach to each when filling to preserve it.)
2) First-aid kit -
1) ipecac, 1 bottle - a must for any house with children or where children visit.
2) Band-aids, assorted
3) antibiotic first aid ointment, 1 tube
4) acetaminophen of ibuprofen
5) eye wash
6) antidiarrheals like Donnagel PG (the generic tastes terrible)
7) diphenhydramine 25mg, excellent for colds, allergic symptoms and reactions, and a good sleeping pill (watch out if you have prostate, eye, or heart problems, ask your doctor)
8) anesthetic first aid spray - sunburns and poison ivy itching etc.
9) nonstick bandage pads, 3"x4", 6 each
10) Dermacel first aid tape, 1"
11) dimenhydrinate 25 mg, motion sickness and nausea
12) pseudoephedrine for congestion (Again, consult your doctor if you have eye or heart problems.)
13) antacid of your choice
14) Robitussin AC or equivalent, ask the Pharmacist (These contain codeine, beware if you are allergic to it.)

The Donnagel PG and Robitussin AC will have to be signed for, but all of these items are nonprescription. These are the minimum supplies needed in a house to meet everyday needs. Customize it to your own needs.

3) First-aid book - the Red Cross has a good one

4) Food - (72 hours worth is easy just by stocking your pantry deeper. Remember, however, that you may not have electricity so store things which require a minimum of cooking. Keep a camp stove and fuel for those things that do need cooking. Two weeks worth requires more planning. Just remember to keep it simple. Remember special considerations for infants, children, and pets.)

5) Can opener, manual - self explanatory

6) Blankets or sleeping bags - (No electricity, no heat in many places. Even gas and wood heaters frequently have electric pumps and fans. Don't forget ground pads and possibly a tent or tarp. You may be forced from your home in bad weather.)

7) Essential medicines and glasses - (NEVER throw away a pair of old glasses. Even if it isn't your current prescription, it's a lot better than nothing, and replacements may be a long time in coming.)

8) lighting - ( long lasting candles are best but you also need a flashlight and extra batteries. Oil lamps are nice but fragile and hard to move. Extreme care is needed with open flame, however. Make SURE there is no gas leak.)

9) ABC rated fire extinguisher - if you get careless with #8

10) watch or clock - battery and/or hand wound, preferably both kinds as a backup.)

11) radio, battery powered with at least two sets of extra batteries

12) escape ladder for two story homes - the stairs may be damaged or on fire.

13) Money - Keep some small bills stashed in the house.

14) Spare clothes - They don't need to be stylish, just functional. Don't throw away your old casual and work clothes, they are good for this. Wash them and package them up. Don't go cheap on good walking shoes or boots, however. Buy a really good pair, break them in, and take care of them, you may have to rely on them someday.

15) Gasoline - Never let your let your car's gas tank get lower than 1/2 full. The service stations may be closed in an emergency, as they were in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo. NEVER store gasoline in your basement or in your car's trunk, one gallon has the explosive force of five sticks of dynamite.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, an ounce of preparedness might prevent a ton of discomfort.