Weather patterns continue to prove detrimental to different areas in the world. Hurricanes, tornados and storms are stronger, floods are worse and no one seems to have an explanation. Instead of worrying, taking action to ensure that if the worst happens, you and your family will have a shelter, food and water no matter where you are.
Shelters fill quickly after major disasters and do not take in pets. Leaving the family pet behind is not an option. Commercial disaster kits do not include pet supplies, and the costs can be prohibitive.
Building a customized disaster kit that includes shelter for you, your family and pet(s) can cost far less than commercial versions.
If pet friendly hotels are too expensive, prepare a list of campgrounds that allow pets. Include a tent large enough to house the family. There are also tents designed to turn the family van, truck, car or SUV into a shelter as well.
Pack sleeping bags, blankets, cots or airbeds for each member of the family. Furry family members often bunk with the family, or can have a pet bunk of their own.
Multi powered lanterns work using solar power, hand crank or batteries. Inexpensive hand crank or solar flashlights provide lighting to and from camp facilities.
Most campgrounds have access to water, but if it is contaminated, figure a gallon a day for each member of the family for cooking and bathing and purchase it in bulk. Plan enough food and water for a week.
Survival food companies offer freeze-dried main and side dishes as well as snacks and desserts, pre-packaged and ready to go. MRE’s need no rehydrate; they can be heated or eaten cold. You can save a bundle by packing your own dehydrated food and items. Many can be found in grocery stores, including:
- · Dried fruit
- · Powdered Milk
- · Powdered eggs
- · Powdered peanut butter
- · Instant mashed potatoes
- · Instant noodles
- · Instant pancake mix
- · Instant soup mixes
Your list can also include protein bars, jerky, canned meats, hard candy, powdered drinks and more. You know what your family will eat better than the commercial companies.
Do not forget to include pet food and treats. Unless your pet is used to camping, it can become stressed by the anxiety of the family and the sudden change of surroundings.
Sanitation And Medical
Okay, sanitation is pretty straight forward. Portapotty, TP, cleansing wipes and so forth. Pack first aid kits for both humans and animals; you’d be surprised how many items can be used for both. Know what human medications your pet can and can’t handle. Include poison control numbers for pets and humans listed on the insides of the container covers if needed.
Butane stoves, folding barbeque grills, solar ovens and 12-volt appliances are all portable, inexpensive ways to prepare meals no matter where you are. It is better to have two or three just in case fuel for one runs out or you are prohibited from using one.
Build an inexpensive solar power pack to power laptops, DVD players, charge cell phones and other electronics. A DC to AC inverter allows 110-volt AC products to be used; ensure the proper sized inverter and batteries are used.
More campgrounds today are offering wi-fi as an amenity for customers, sometimes free, sometimes for a small charge. If the campground does not offer/have it, be sure to pack a mobile hotspot. Access your email account as soon as you arrive and let those you care about know you and your family are okay. You can also notify the authorities such as the Red Cross of your location so that you can receive assistance, if required.
Clothing And Miscellaneous Supplies
Many websites and articles have lists for creating disaster kits that list the obvious such as clothing appropriate for the weather, flashlights, matches and so on.
Include little-known items that may indeed come in handy such as a few coat hangers, clothesline, hook and loop tape strips, zip ties and microfiber cloths. Other items may seem odd but can include:
- · Board games and cards
- · Solar powered electric fencing, if you are in a remote area. This can warn off wildlife and possible intruders.
- · Sewing kit and supplies for repairing tents/outdoor gear
- · Waterproofing spray
- · Extra tarps
- · Solar landscape lights to light the camp at night, preventing tripping over things in the dark.
- · Clothespins, bucket and laundry soap
Each kit will differ depending on the number and ages of people, medical conditions, weather conditions, season, landscape, type and number of pets and so on.
Pack items in roller duffel bags or wheeled luggage bags to facilitate ease of packing. Keep an inventory list and go through the food back at least once a month to rotate items into your regular diet and replace items for freshness. Take out the tent(s), set up and inspect seams, apply waterproofing and ensure all zippers work properly.
By preparing ahead of time and keeping your shelter and kit current, you and your family can survive and live comfortably during any disaster.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.