September is National Preparedness Month, and it's a good time for everyone to start stocking for winter - along with the possibility of natural disasters and the ever-present risk of terrorist attacks.
I presume the powers that be chose September because of 9/11. And while the threat of terrorism is always in the back of our minds, it might not come to realization.
But you can bet that somewhere, every few months, there will be a natural disaster affecting a multitude of people in the U.S. Need I say wildfire? Or how about a snowstorm that cuts the power and blocks the roads? Everyone needs to be prepared.
Government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend storing at least three days of food and water per person. I think seven days should be your minimum - or more.
An average person drinks at least a half-gallon of water per day. Add some for cleaning, etc., and most likely you'll need a gallon. So, to last a family of four for seven days, that would be 28 gallons.
Of course, you'll need enough canned and nonperishable food to last that long as well. If you never need it, all the better. It doesn't have to go to waste. You can regularly eat and drink what you have stored, but if you do, get in the habit of buying the replacement before consuming what you have.
Stock your car with some food bars, a gallon or so of water, a blanket, booster cables, a flashlight, extra batteries, matches and candles in a waterproof container, a small foldable shovel and some tire chains. I'm sure you can think of more.
And, of course, there's my specialty: medical supplies. Everyone should have the following in a kit at home and in your car:
- Adhesive bandages (Band-Aids).
- Antibacterial ointment such as Bacitracin, Neosporin, triple antibiotic.
- Disposable gloves.
- Safety pins.
- Tape (I like duct tape).
- Gauze (3x3-inch).
- Elastic bandage (3-inch).
You can find a complete, printable checklist at TheSurvivalDoctor.com/sign-up.
Everyone is different, with different medical problems, so take that into consideration when preparing your kit. For instance, remember to refill your prescription medicines a few days before you run out so you'll have a few extra on hand. Better yet, ask your doctor about a second prescription for a few extra days. Promise to use it only for emergencies. Your insurance probably won't cover it so expect to pay out of pocket, but it's only a one-time deal.
If you require home medical supplies, stock extra. If you need oxygen, ask your supplier about a portable tank. For any equipment that requires electricity, consider buying a small generator. It's always a good idea to ask your supplier what options they recommend in case you run out of supplies or the power goes off and the roads are closed.
Remember, the time to prepare is now. If you wait until the snow starts falling, you might have waited too late.
Family doctor James Hubbard teaches how to survive during disasters or any time you can't get expert medical help at TheSurvivalDoctor.com.