If a disaster was to befall the country, would you be caught unawares or would you be adequately prepared to survive?
We cannot anticipate everything. Sometimes disasters come abruptly and leave untold destruction in their wake, killing some while leaving others stranded. However it will not hurt to take some extra precautions. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
While we have already covered safety precautions in the face of the #NairobiFloods, there are basic protective actions that are similar across many different disasters. Keep an emergency survival kit in order to prepare for anything that might happen.
A basic survival kit is a collection of basic items you and your household may need in case of a disaster. During such crises, the government is supposed to organize safety and evacuation processes, however due to a number of reasons they may not be able to reach you in time. Rescue may take days, therefore it is good to be prepared. You are advised to assemble one beforehand and keep it ready so that you don’t have too much hassle when time is of the essence.
A basic kit must contain the following items:
- Bottled water. The recommended minimum is 4 litres per person, per day for drinking and sanitation (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Food. Non perishable, easy to prepare items e.g dried fruit, nuts, crackers, ready to eat canned meats and vegetables etc. (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Torch and extra batteries
- Small battery powered radio
- Family and emergency contact information
- First aid kit
- Whistle – to signal for help
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items i.e. wet wipes, sanitary towels and tampons, adult diapers, hand sanitizer, garbage bags etc
- Cell phone with charger/powerbank
- Multi purpose tool
- Extra cash
- Map of the area
Once you have the basics, you may need to customize your survival kit with a few other items such as:-
- Prescription medication (Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs)
- Sleeping bag or a warm blanket per person
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
- Books, puzzles, board games, art supplies (for both you and the kids)
- Pen and paper
Remember the unique needs of your family members, including growing children, when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan. If there is a baby, ensure there is formula, diapers, sterilized bottles, powdered milk, wet wipes and any necessary medication. For adults ensure there are contact lenses and supplies and/or an extra pair of spectacles.
It is also important to keep a survival kit in your car, as you might be hit by unfavorable conditions while in it which can turn a short drive into a deathly ordeal. Ensure that there are extra snacks in your car, so that you will be able to sustain yourself until rescue comes.