Most people don’t like to think about emergency situations let alone making preparations for one. We at Phil Thompson Properties know that taking the time and making a minimal investment can not only lessen possible discomfort but could save your life or that of a loved one or neighbor.
Emergencies can take many forms. Here in Middle Tennessee we are familiar with tornadoes and flooding but we can also be affected by power outages created by events far away. The New Madrid fault line which runs along the western Tennessee border, is also capable of causing large earthquakes which could damage homes, roads, water and sewer services in Dickson County. A sudden increase in gasoline prices could halt much of the transportation we rely on for getting groceries to our stores. This is not to be alarmist but we need to be careful not to take our daily comforts and conveniences for granted.
Being prepared focuses on these basics, having at least three days of food and water for everyone in your household along with shelter and first aid capabilities.
Most store shelves will be empty within 24 hours after a community-wide or larger disaster strikes. Here in Middle Tennessee we have a mix of large towns and very rural areas. Most folks out in the country have well water and keep a stocked pantry root cellar due to their distance from there closest grocer. People in the larger cities such as Dickson should not count on being able to get to the Kroger or Food Lion before the bottled water has sold out.
(Download an Emergency Supply check list here)
Making your supply kit:
(Get a clean plastic trash can with a tight fitting lid for your household kit and a smaller container, duffel bag or backpack you can keep in the trunk of your car in case you’re not at home)
- A minimum of one gallon of water per person per day.
- Store water in 3 or 5 gallon containers which can be easily moved if necessary.
- Buy bottled water or store tap water in washed plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Sanitize containers with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water before using.
- If your tap water is commercially treated, you can use it as-is. For well water or untreated public water, follow treatment instructions provided by your public health service.
- Seal the water containers tightly and label them with the date. Store in a cool, dark place. Refresh your water supply every six months.
- If you’re on a private well in an area prone to electrical outages, you might want to store larger amounts of water to flush stools and for general cleanup. The bakery departments of grocery stores receive pre-made frosting in covered buckets and will often give you those buckets free. Cat litter and other products come in suitable 2-3 gallon covered buckets. Look around to see what you can find.
(Use a permanent marker to date foods and replace items every six months. Pack foods in watertight bags or sturdy plastic containers)
- Canned foods are a good choice. Buy ready-to-eat meats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Buy canned or boxed juices, milk, soup, and powdered milk.
- Peanut butter is a good source of protein.
- Crackers, granola bars, cereals, trail mix.
- Instant coffee and tea.
- Sugar, salt, pepper, other spices.
- Don’t forget a manual can opener!
- Having a fully stocked freezer is great.. until the power goes out. If you do not have a power generator to keep that freezer going you need to have sufficient dry goods on hand.
- First aid manual, scissors, sterile bandages, gauze pads, cotton balls, safety pins, latex gloves.
- Antibiotic ointment, cleansing agents such as isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, germicidal soaps, moistened towelettes.
- Needles, tweezers, scissors, thermometer.
- Aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, syrup of ipecac (to induce vomiting), vitamins.
- Check at your favorite local store for a comprehensive first aid kit and make yourself familiar with its contents before you need them.
- Take a CPR course or make sure one of your housemates has.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you wish to store your regular prescription medications.
Tools and Supplies:
- Battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries, a NOAA weather radio. There are many “Survival” radios and lights which use a hand-crank to recharge their batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Shutoff wrench, pliers, shovel and other tools.
- Duct tape, scissors, plastic sheeting.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Paper, pens, pencils.
- Needles and thread.
- Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils. Plastic trash bags.
- Hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, towelettes, soap. Toilet paper, paper towels.
- Chlorine bleach and other disinfectant cleaners.
- Household documents, contact numbers.
- Copies of important documents. Cash or traveler’s checks.
Other Useful Items:
- Blankets, bedding, sleeping bags.
- Comfortable clothes and shoes.
- Supplies for babies and the elderly.
- Supplies for your pets.
- Things to do: books, games, toys.
At School, Work and In The Car:
- Keep an emergency backpack at the office in case you can’t get home right away. It should contain a small first aid kit, radio, flashlight and food items
- Store a supply of food and water in your car. Include jumper cables, flares, ice melt and other seasonal items. During warm summer months keep extra water and a portable source of shade such as a large umbrella.
- Keep your gas tank filled and if you commute a long distance find safe places along your route you can stop if necessary.
There are many things to consider when looking at disaster preparedness and much information available online. Everyone has unique circumstances so please use the above recommendations as a guideline for your specific needs.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has put together a great source of information here.
Phil Thompson Properties owns and manages rental homes and properties throughout Dickson County, TN