by Nichole Hudon MS, RD/LD
Q: My friend lost her home in the recent tornado. When we were talking, she said to me, "I didn't know when I left this morning that I should have prepared to be homeless". That statement made me think about having an emergency supply kit with me at all times. Is there a resource where I can find a list of the types of things I should keep?
A: I am so sorry about your friend and the many others who lost their homes. This is a very important question as in natural disasters such as this, people are suddenly left with not even the basics to get by for a few days let alone an extended amount of time.
In researching this, I did come across multiple resources with lists as extensive as you choose to get based on the nature of the disaster. Although I always keep such a kit in my car during the winter, I had not considered keeping one all year round. The most concise resource I found is www.ready.gov which is developed by FEMA.
For this discussion and with keeping in mind how quickly people had to find shelter, I researched basic lists of kits which could be carried and which would get you by about 72 hours. For those who have tornado shelters, this is a good resource center for what kinds of items to be stored in the shelter and the best ways to store them to prevent contamination.
Some suggested items to put in backpacks (plan for 3 days):
Extra bag should include:
In vehicles, be careful not to over-pack but this is where you can store additional items for extended needs, such as:
The lists can get extensive and it is easy to overload bags. Remember that if the bags are too heavy, they may get left behind all together so think about absolute essentials for the packs and keep the totes for non-critical items that would be nice to have. Do not place the personal information in these totes as they are not guaranteed to be with you. For more ideas, visit www.ready.gov
For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.