Be prepared

In this time of global heebie-jeebies, loyal Americans find themselves worrying about all sorts of potential disasters: terrorist attacks, anthrax letters, plane crashes, power grid failures, fire, flood, famine and/or car trouble.

That's why it's important to be prepared for any and all emergencies. Home preparedness not only can be key to your survival, it can also provide that elusive quality known as "peace of mind."

The main component in such preparation is the Emergency Survival Kit, and no home should be without one. But how, you might ask, can one assemble such a kit? What does every home need in times of calamity?

Ah, that's where we can help. We here at Home Front headquarters have spent literally minutes on Internet research and have consolidated that vast array of information into the following list of emergency supplies.

You should run right out and buy all this gear and carefully store it in a cool, dry place, such as a bomb shelter or root cellar. Doing so assures that you'll never need any of it. Just assembling an Emergency Survival Kit virtually guarantees that you'll never have an actual emergency. It's a matter of karmic talisman, and it's the reason we always carry jumper cables.

However, while creating your Emergency Survival Kit, you should pretend that you'll actually need this stuff someday. Remember: In the case of an actual emergency, you'll be cooped up with your family for days or weeks. You'd better have enough food/water/medicine/batteries/Game Boys to keep your family safe, happy and amused until the "all clear" signal sounds.

In other words, it'll be exactly like a long car trip with the kids, except without the scenery.


--Canned or dried food

How much? It depends on how many family members will be tapping the supply, and how long they would prefer such food to, say, fleeing into the nuclear fallout. In the case of canned goods, you should stockpile enough for a week or two. With dried food, maybe three days' worth.

--Can opener



Our Internet sources say you should have three liters of bottled water per person per day. But since we don't know how much a "liter" is, we'd simply recommend that you store "a lot" of water. Water's not just for drinking. You'll also need it for washing, which becomes increasingly important in the close quarters of a bomb shelter.

--A grill or hibachi

You'll need some way to heat that canned food. Dried food makes good fuel.

--First aid kit

This should include all the usual first aid items. Go heavy on the headache remedies, especially if there are children in the family.


--Extra batteries

--Candles and matches

In case a "romantic evening" breaks out in the old bomb shelter.


--More batteries

--Toilet paper

Lots. In case things go really wrong, toilet paper makes a dandy turban.

--Pet supplies

Don't forget about Rover or Fifi. They won't eat dried food, either, and they'll want their usual chow. Remember, if times become desperate enough, a well-fed pet can become "lunch."

--Toys, books, handheld video games and portable stereos

It's tough to stay amused when you're waiting out nuclear winter. Stock enough of these gizmos so that every family member can stay busy singing along with their favorite songs or playing their favorite games.

--Way more batteries


So you don't have to listen to your family members sing along.

--Basic tools

Can't ever tell when you might need a hammer. For example, if your relatives refuse to stop
singing . . .

--Blankets or sleeping bags

--Copies of important documents and medical records

When the government starts going door-to-door, searching for terrorists, you'll want some ID handy.

--Personal hygiene items, such as toothbrushes and deodorant

Trust us.

--Emergency clothing

This includes rain gear, sturdy shoes and warm clothes you can wear in layers under your "hazmat" suits.

--Did we mention batteries?

Once you've assembled all these items, you'll find that they fill your designated shelter to the brim. There'll be no room in there for actual people. But, given enough warning, you can quickly construct a shelter out of whatever's handy. We suggest using dead batteries.

No comments: