Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane’

Buy a Ready-Made Disaster Kit vs. Make One from Scratch

April 26, 2010

Disasters can strike at any time, arriving in the form of unannounced earthquakes, forecasted yet still destructive hurricanes and tornadoes, other acts of God and even man-made chemical spills or power plant meltdowns.  When disaster strikes, are you prepared? What does being prepared mean?  The makers of one such disaster kit breaks it down like this: Food, water, shelter, first aid, alert, and “other items”.  The first three should look familiar to you as the traditional items on an immediate “basic needs” list, while first aid deals with injury inflicted during the disaster.  Alert items help EMT or search and rescue find you sooner.  “Other items”, such as a dust mask and work gloves, help reduce further injury.

A disaster kit addresses the basic needs of food, water, and shelter for you and your family. Should you buy a ready-made kit or create one from scratch?Why do I recommend buying a ready-made disaster kit? While these kits come with everything you will need, creating a disaster kit from scratch and buying everything that comes with it takes a lot of time and effort.  The 58-item disaster kit comes with 21 unique items.  Would you like to run around a sporting goods store or department store seeking out these items?  Furthermore, you may need to make a trip to a specialty store if you can’t find some of the items.  In any event, purchasing a ready-made disaster kit will cost between $40-90.  Creating one from scratch will cost around $80 if you purchase the items in bulk, but you will be left with lots of leftovers, enough to make multiple kits.

Here are the contents of the ready-made disaster kit with all the items you need to get by until the city or state restores basic services and utilities and businesses reopen.  All the items come in a bright, safety orange backpack:

WATER
6 Emergency Drinking Pouches
FOOD
1 2400-Calorie Bar
ALERT
1 Flashlight w/batteries
2 Light Sticks
1 Whistle
SHELTER/WEATHER
1 Rain Poncho
1 Emergency Blanket
4 Hand Warmers
FIRST AID ITEMS
15 ¾” x 3″ Adhesive Bandages
5 ⅜” x 1 ½” Adhesive Bandages
1 Antibiotic Ointment Packet
3 Antiseptic Wipes
3 Alcohol Prep Pads
1 First Aid Guide
2 Acetaminophen Tablets (e.g. Tylenol)
2 Ibuprofen Tablets (e.g. Advil)
2 Antacid Tablets
OTHER
1 Pair of Work Gloves
1 Dust Mask
1 Biohazard Bag w/tie
4 Hand Sanitizer Packets

If you feel compelled to create your own disaster kit for, say, your family of four, buying the items in bulk will save you a lot of money.  Below, I will also list the number of items purchased in bulk in parentheses.  Even if you assemble four complete kits and stuff them in a single orange backpack, you will still find yourself with a lot of leftover items, as the numbers will show.

WATER
24 Emergency Drinking Pouches (pack of 60)
FOOD
4 2400-Calorie Bars (pack of 24)
ALERT
4 Flashlights w/batteries (each)
8 Light Sticks (pack of 10)
4 Whistles (each)
SHELTER/WEATHER
4 Rain Ponchos (pack of 4)
4 Emergency Blankets (pack of 4)
16 Hand Warmers (pack of 40)
FIRST AID ITEMS
60 ¾” x 3″ Adhesive Bandages (pack of 100)
20 ⅜” x 1 ½” Adhesive Bandages (pack of 100)
4 Antibiotic Ointment Packets (pack of 100)
12 Antiseptic Wipes (pack of 100)
12 Alcohol Prep Pads (pack of 200)
4 First Aid Guides (each)
8 Acetaminophen Tablets (pack of 50)
8 Ibuprofen Tablets (pack of 50)
8 Antacid Tablets (pack of 125)
OTHER
4 Pairs of Work Gloves (each)
4 Dust Masks (pack of 30)
4 Bio-hazard Bags w/tie (pack of 25)
16 Hand Sanitizer Packets (pack of 200)
1 Orange Backpack

As you can see, just four items (flashlight with batteries, whistle, First Aid guide, and work gloves) were not purchased in bulk.  In any case, unless you ran a doctor’s office, were compiling a disaster kit that complied with OSHA, or had accident-prone children, the chances of requiring so many first aid items, hand warmers, and packets of hand sanitizer are slim.

You may save a lot of money by assembling your own disaster kit but you will waste a lot of time doing so and you will have a lot of items leftover.  It is never too soon to purchase a disaster kit so that you and your family can have some peace of mind when the unexpected takes place.  Disaster kits address the most basic of human needs.  Do not wait until a disaster already takes place to think about the needs of you or your family.

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Francis M. Unson