Day 6 - Stored Water is Critical

If you've been following Everyday Providence for long you've heard us emphasize water storage. During a disaster, municipal water sources can be damaged, contaminated, or simply inoperable. Yet, in a disaster situation you need clean water all the more for drinking and sanitation.

You need to store at least a gallon of water for each day's use per person in your home. Three days of reserves is the minimum, but seven to ten days of utility loss is certainly possible. That's a lot of water, so storage in your home becomes a concern.

We recommend that you start by storing at least one case of bottled water for each person in your home. Plastic bottles do have a limited shelf life and need to be rotated. If you buy new cases and add them to your supply, while using the oldest case first, you are set!

You can also prepare and store your own water at home. Prepared and stored in a large food safe container, today's tap water can become tomorrow's emergency supply... if you store it now! (For safety, follow qualified instructions to store your own water.)

My favorite take-away from the conference that I'm attending has been canned water! It has a 30 year shelf life, so you can buy it once and forget it. It is stackable, so it will not crush and collapse when stacked up high! And it's stored in smaller 24 ounce containers, so you can share and carry water if needed.

However you decide to do it, you need to stash some water with your disaster kit now!

Day 4 - A bag to carry your stuff in

I need to state clearly that there are times when you should NOT take the time to grab ANYTHING. There are emergencies when seconds count and you need to GET OUT! Researchers find that people often disregard the urgency of a crisis situation and stop to collect personal belongings on the way out the door. When you make your emergency plan, be clear with your family about when you do (storm warning) and when you do not (house fire) have time to grab supplies.

That said... At home, in the car, and at work, you need a bag as part of your disaster kit. I do an exercise at offices where they have 5 minutes to collect what they need to take with them during a weather related evacuation. Whether they choose to save critical corporate documents or if they decide to grab snacks and first aid supplies, participants in this 'scavenger hunt' of sorts find that they fare better when they have something to toss their stuff in.

You don't necessarily need to purchase a new bag to carry your stuff. Today, I'm attending a state emergency management conference, and one of the vendors handed out these nifty reusable shopping bags. This is exactly the sort of bag that you can fold up on the bottom of your desk drawer at work. I bet you pull it out and use it before an actual disaster strikes. That's OK, your disaster supplies should solve a variety of problems. Just don't forget to replace it!

Day 3 - Nail Trimmers... Super tool?

Since 9-11, carrying a pocketknife can be tricky business. However, with rare exception, nail trimmers are allowed most places that check for or restrict weapons. I have found that nail trimmers can be a handy tool for so many things beside personal grooming.

Clipping a stray thread, cutting strings, and tape, or even (maybe) cutting out a coupon. OK, we all know we'd just tear that one, but work with me here... these really can be a useful thing to have on hand.

And nothing bothers me more than chipping a nail with no way to fix it.

Day 2 - A Flashlight so you can see what you're doing

I mentioned in a recent post a moment when the power went out at a conference I was attending in Las Vegas. Temporary power was restored in minutes (maybe seconds... Time goes slower in pitch darkness.) and we were evacuated from the building immediately. That incident instilled in me the importance of carrying a light source with me. I love this teeny-tiny flashlight because it's lightweight and I can easily carry an extra battery with me.

In that dark moment in the Las Vegas convention center, everyone flipped on their phones. But if we had been forced to depend on cell phones for extended lighting, we would have been compromising the battery life of our primary form of communication and source of information. Keeping a tiny flashlight in your purse, pocket, briefcase, backpack or keychain will certainly be invaluable many other times and not just in an emergency.

Remember that batteries stored in a flashlight lose charge even if they are not used. Remember to switch out these batteries frequently (or carry an extra set), so they'll be ready when you need them.

National Preparedness Month - Day 1

Today marks the beginning of National Preparedness Month. In remembering the events of September 11th, America has emphasized this month since 2004 as a time to prepare for disasters like terrorist attacks, storm effects and earthquakes. Each day this month we'll highlight a preparedness gadget, tip, or concept that you can add to your family's disaster kit or emergency plan.

After a storm or earthquake, the utility lines to your home may be affected. When utility lines are disrupted inside your home, further damage and danger may occur. Gas leaks may cause explosions or poisoning. Leaking water pipes can cause property damage, personal injury, or electrical incidents. A 4 in 1 emergency tool is designed to