This past Tuesday brought more than an impressive storm to Taber, Alberta. Four twisters were reported in the area and one touchdown was confirmed by Envirnoment Canada. Although the tornado caused damage to trees and buildings, thankfully no one was hurt.
So what would YOU do if a Tornado was imminent? I started pondering this myself and realized that in no way would I be prepared for a twister and its aftermath if my home were in its path of destruction. Yes, I’d head to the basement and gather my family in the most fortified corner I could find, but what then? Assuming we did indeed get hit but survived unharmed, would we be prepared for what came next?
So, what would one need in the aftermath of a twister? Ahhh… yes, flashlights, of course! Where are my flashlights? At present, they’re not in the basement. Strike one for me. It hardly makes sense to have them scattered all over the upper level but not where I’d be stationed while riding out the storm. I might survive, but the hunt for my scattered belongings would be futile. Mental note: keep some flashlights downstairs.
What else… water. Yup, simple H2o. Lots of that in the faucets, but would I be able to ‘tap into’ that supply in an emergency? Probably not. Okay, gotta keep some water bottles in the basement near the flashlights.
Hmmm… food, of course. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are hungry 24/7. Peanuts and chocolate are relatively non-perishable. I’ll be sure to pack up a few Mars bars with the water and flashlights.
So here I am realizing very quickly that what I really need is an emergency kit. We’ve heard it before, but how many of us have actually compiled some essential items to get us through the worst of a disaster?
Don’t wait for a storm to hit you. Get to work now and prepare an emergency kit for your family.
Here are a few essentials that should be in your kit:
- Water. Have enough for each member of the family – including pets – for a period of 72 hours. And remember, water isn’t just for drinking. You will need water for washing and maintaining a minimal degree of personal hygiene. Two litres per day per person is the standard.
- Food. Again, keep the 72 hour rule in mind. Choose small yet nutrient- and energy-packed items such as chocolate bars, nuts, and canned goods.
- Manual can opener.
- Flashlights – lots of them! Consider investing in crank operated flashlights and radios.
- Batteries for any necessary electronic devices.
- Extra keys for your home and automobiles.
- First Aid kit. Consider purchasing a comprehensive First Aid kit from a pharmacy. They often come with tips on administering First Aid and other valuable information.
- Money. Cash in small amounts and denominations.
- Special items for specific needs. Medication, baby formula, equipment for those with particular medical or developmental needs.
Some other items to consider:
- Clothing. Especially footwear.
- Sleeping bag, blankets and other heavy textiles to keep you warm and dry.
- Pet food.
- Garbage bags. They come in handy for protecting from moisture and can be used to shield you from rain.
- Toilet paper and personal hygiene items.
- Reading glasses.
- Scissors, Swiss army knife, utensils.
- Whistle or blow horn.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Important family documents such as wills, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, etc.
- Games, books and toys to keep kids preoccupied and calm in stressful times.
Store the items in a large and easily accessible waterproof container, and include an empty backpack or two so that you can transport the items easily if necessary.
The Canadian Red Cross has developed a disaster preparedness kit to take the guess-work out of preparation. For more information on this, visit their website.