When we think emergency, we generally think that an emergency room would be the place to go to get help.
With a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, an emergency room may even be the LAST place you want to visit. It will be utter chaos and supplies will be quickly eliminated. It is best to leave the ERs for those with life-threatening conditions. (If you feel that you or your loved one does not have a life threatening condition, by all means, do go.)
But for those of us with no or minimal injuries, having a good disaster preparedness plan and a plan is the best answer to maintaining health and safety until further assistance arrives.
Here are some things to have on hand.
A good first-aid kit … not just one with band-aids and alcohol wipes. You will need band-aids of different sizes, gauze squares and wrap, paper and plastic tape, bottled antiseptic, scissors, anti-biotic ointment, alcohol wipes, bug-bite spray, disposable gloves (a box of them), a bottle of saline to use for eye wash, 2 packs of 81 mg aspirin (for those who may experience stress-related heart problems), Ibuprofen or Tylenol (remember to limit the amount of Tylenol taken to 200 mg per day), elastic bandage roll (the kind used for sprains), a breathing barrier with a one-way valve, some surgical masks, instant cold packs, steri-strips, tweezers for slivers and a first aid instruction booklet.
A knowledge of CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation)
Lists of important phone numbers and policy info – doctors, insurance agents, copy of powers of attorney, pacemaker and other implanted device serial numbers, family members, etc. (it's good to note one family member who is not in the state where the disaster occurred because lines and cell sites may be jammed.)
A battery powered radio and flashlight. Be sure to keep extra batteries in your kit, as well – AAAs. AAs, Cs and do not forget the Ds for the larger flashlights and radios.
Candles and matches.
Extra pair of glasses, if available. Do not forget the reading glasses.
Hearing aid batteries – these are a must if you have a hard-of-hearing loved one.
List of prescribed medicines and allergies for each person in the family.
Extra bottles of prescriptions, if obtainable.
Water – 1 gallon of potable water per person per day. (Remember to check expiration dates.)
Water – non-potable. If you are on a well or living off the grid, you will want to keep extra gallons of water for flushing toilets, etc.
Bleach – to clean germs and blood spills
$ bills and other change. There will not be many people who can change a $ 20 and you can barter for items much better if you have the proper change.
A tent is helpful.
Feminine hygiene products
Large trash bags, Duct tape and scissors (Large trash bags can be used to place in the toilet as a receptacle – tie or tape and dispose of properly.)
tuna, shrimp, salmon, crab meat, SPAM, Vienna sausage, chili con carne
jars or snack sizes of applesauce, fruits
pastas, jarred spaghetti sauces
Salami, beef jerky
ENSURE or other supplement for seniors
other non-perishable items as desired – try to get foods with at least a 6 month shelf life.
A non-electric can opener
Anti-bacterial wipes and solution
Adult diapers for those who need them (these are actually good to use as pressure dressings for large wounds – but remember, they will absorb a lot, so continue to apply pressure manually)
Change of clothing for each family member
Rain poncho (can also use the large trash bags)
Oxygen Tank and extra tubing if needed
Extra set of keys
An extra room in your house to store all this stuff (KIDDING)
A large trash can is a great place to store your preparedness kit. Keep the foods on top so that you can check their expiration dates.
This does seem like a very long list but gathering and having these items available to you in case of an emergency will allow you to be prepared for many natural disasters.