This October marks the 22nd anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Although we are all well aware we live in earthquake country, many of us are ill prepared at home in the event of an earthquake or even a power outage from a storm. The following items are basic essentials for every household in the event of an emergency.
Gas shut-off tool: Keep the gas shutoff wrench near your gas meter for quick access, and know how to use it if you have a leak. There are three ways to detect a gas leak:
1. Smell: Natural gas has a rotten egg smell.
2. Listen: You may hear a hissing sound.
3. Look: If the non-numbered wheels on you gas meter are spinning rapidly, this could indicate a leak.
Caution: Do not shut off gas unless you have a leak. If you turn it off, do not attempt to turn it back on – only the gas company can do so.
Water: Keep at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand, enough for three days.
Radio: A battery-operated radio will keep you informed of what is happening. There are even some that have rechargeable batteries or are hand-crank charged.
Emergency tool: Store a multitool with your emergency kit. Some multitools feature glass breakers, seat belt cutters, emergency flashers and sirens, flashlights, and AM/FM radios. Keep one in your home and car for emergencies.
Canned food and opener: Can-ned foods have a long shelf life, are easy to prepare, and are good as an emergency food source. Don’t forget a good hand-operated can opener. Consider including some canned foods that can be eaten straight from the can in case you cannot use your stove.
First aid kit: In addition to a basic first aid kit, keep a supply of any prescription medications.
Flashlights: Have a working flashlight in every room of the house if possible and one for every family or household member. A tripod flashlight will provide hands-free light so you can do other tasks. Some LED flashlights now feature flexible legs allowing them to be mounted just about anywhere.
Batteries: Make sure you are well stocked with batteries for flashlights and radios. Batteries have a shelf life, so keep your supply fresh.
LED lighting: With all of the LED (light-emitting diode) lighting available there is really no need to rely on candles for light. Candles can also be extremely dangerous should your home have a gas leak. LED lamps are more reliable and convenient if your power is out for an extended period. Be sure to keep batteries on hand for these lights too.
Don’t forget to also have a plan for your family for where to meet up should an emergency occur during the day while you are at work and your children are at school.
Julia Strzesieski is the marketing coordinator at Cole Hardware and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Around the House