I couldn't imagine having to go through what the people in Louisiana and Mississippi are going through right now. It is such a terrible tragedy and I hope that I will never have to go through it. Each of us can make a contribution so please, make a donation of money or blood to the Red Cross.
The fact is, it could happen to any of us so we need to make sure that we are all prepared. Every household or family should have both an emergency disaster kit and an emergency plan. Make sure you take care of this or else you may regret it later! Don't put it off as one of those things you'll eventually get around to. An emergency (earthquake, flood, hurricane, terrorist attack) can happen at any time and won't wait for you to get prepared.
Here are some tips for getting prepared taken from Department of Homeland Security.
What you should have in your emergency kit:
Water and Food
* One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
* Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
* If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary.
* Store water tightly in clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.
* Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person
* Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
* Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
* Pack a manual can opener and eating utensils.
Choose foods your family will eat.
o Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
o Protein or fruit bars
o Dry cereal or granola
o Peanut butter
o Dried fruit
o Canned juices
o Non-perishable pasteurized milk
o High energy foods
o Food for infants
o Comfort/stress foods
First Aid Kit
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
Things you should have:
* Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
* Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
* Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
* Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
* Burn ointment to prevent infection.
* Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
* Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
* Thermometer (Read more: Biological Threat)
* Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
* Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
Clothing and Bedding
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. · One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
* A jacket or coat
* A long sleeve shirt
*A hat and gloves
*A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Things it may be good to have:
* Cell Phone
* Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
* Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
* Anti-diarrhea medication
* Antacid (for upset stomach)
* Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
* Flashlight and extra batteries
* Whistle to signal for help
* Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
* Moist towelettes for sanitation
* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
* Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
* Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
* Unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers, and important family documents
* Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
* Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or a print out of this information
* Rain gear
* Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
* Cash or traveler's checks, change
* Paper towels
* Fire Extinguisher
* Matches in a waterproof container
* Signal flare
* Paper, pencil
* Medicine dropper
* Feminine supplies
* Personal hygiene items
* Household chlorine bleach
You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Having an Emergency Plan
Probably the worst part about a disaster is not knowing if your loved ones are o.k. You could be anywhere when a disaster strikes, at work, at home, at school, in a mall (hopefully not in a mall, because that would mean you are spending money, hehe). Here are some good things to have in place just in case you and your family are separated:
* It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
* Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
* You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient.
As is illustrated by the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina, you can't always rely on government officials and aid agencies to help you out in a disaster. Make sure you have done all you can to take care of yourself and your family in a disaster.