Disaster Preparedness Kits
Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fire and terrorist activity are disasters that can wreak extreme devastation on property and people. Your ability to cope with these traumatic events relies directly on your level of preparedness before they happen.
At a minimum, you should be prepared to survive on your own for three days and nights following a disaster. Remember there will likely be a loss of electricity and other utilities. Water may be scarce, phones could be out of service, heat may not work, medical help may be unavailable, gas pumps may be unoperable, cash machines and debit cards may be rendered useless, stores may be closed. That's why you need to prepare in advance and have an emergency plan in place with your family, your children's school and your workplace.
How to prepare for an earthquake:
- Secure heavy furnishings.
- Secure water heater and appliances that could move enough to rupture utility lines.
- Keep breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves. Put latches on cabinet doors to keep them closed during shaking.
- Keep flammable or hazardous liquids such as paints, pest sprays, or cleaning products in cabinets or secured on lower shelves.
- Maintain supplies of emergency food, water, medicine, first aid kit, tools and clothing. (Columbia Custom Kits has a good selection of first aid kits and emergency supplies)
- Know the safe spot in each room. Under sturdy tables, desks, or against inside walls are good places to ride out an earthquake.
- Know the danger spots. Windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall furniture can be especially dangerous during an earthquake.
- Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself and your children in safe locations.
- Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) from your local Red Cross or other community organization.
- Decide where your family will reunite, if separated.
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
- Choose an out-of-state or out-of-province friend or relative whom family members can call after the quake to report your condition.
- Carry emergency contact cards with out-of-province contact phone numbers.
- Have a survival kit for work and travel. (Columbia Custom Kits has a good selection to choose from)
- Be prepared for aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover when they occur.
What to do in the event of an earthquake:
- Check for injuries. Administer first aid as necessary.
- Remain calm and reassure others.
- Avoid broken glass.
- Check for fire. Take appropriate actions and precautions.
- Check gas, water, and electric lines. If damaged, shut off service. If gas is leaking, don't use matches, flashlights, appliances, or electric switches. Open windows, leave building and report to gas company.
- Replace all telephone receivers and use for emergency calls only.
- Tune to the emergency broadcast station on radio or television. Listen for emergency bulletins.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
Tornadoes strike quickly, leaving little time for life-and-death decisions. Advance planning and preparation are key to surviving a tornado. To prepare for a tornado threat, develop an emergency communication plan, select a shelter and practice going there with family members.
Have your tornado shelter stocked with:
- a first-aid kit and survival kit (see our products list to select a kit that's right for you)
- flashlights and batteries
- portable radio
- emergency food and water
- non-electric can opener
- cash and credit cards
- sturdy footwear and clothing
- blankets and bedding
Floods can be sudden and catastrophic. Find out if you live in a flood zone, have a survival kit on hand (Columbia Custom Kits offers a number of options) and an emergency preparedness plan in place. Keep important papers in watertight containers and take photos of your property and valuables. When faced with the danger of flooding, shut off power to your premises, disconnect all electrical appliances and move them to higher levels. Fully co-operate with authorities in the event of a flood.
Over one million structure fires are reported to fire departments each year. Despite all the technology and fire prevention methods, including sprinklers and smoke alarms, North America has the worst fire death rate in the industrialized world. Fires kill more people each year than earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes combined!
In recent years, more and more homes and personal property have been destroyed by wildfires. You can protect your property from wildfire by being prepared.
How to protect your home and property from wildfire:
- Clear all fuels (trees and brush) away from your home.
- Prune low-level branches to a minimum height of 8 feet (2.5 meters).
- Move all combustible and flammable materials away from your home.
- Equip your property with fire extinguishers. (Columbia Fire and Safety offers a good selection of fire extinguishers)
- Have enough hose to reach your roof connected to a reliable water source.
- Have a shovel or hand tool handy to prevent ground fire from spreading.
- Have an emergency evacuation plan in place for your family.
- Keep a first aid and survival kit in an accessible place. (Columbia Custom Kits has a wide selection of kits to choose from)
- Co-operate with authorities in the event of a wildfire.
The threat of terrorist activity has become a reality and poses a risk to people and property. You can protect your family and home by preparing as you would for any other disaster - have a first aid and survival kit on hand (see our list of products) and have a family emergency communications plan in place. Some terrorist attacks could contaminate the air, so it's a good idea to equip your home or shelter with filter masks, duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal doors and windows. Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow the instructions of authorities.