Today we mark International Day for Disaster Reduction. Recognition of this day began in 1989, with approval by the United Nations General Assembly, as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The objective is to raise awareness of what all of us can do to reduce our risk from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.
Disaster reduction needs to be addressed in ways both large and small. In a long-term, big-picture view, the goal is to look at factors such as poverty reduction and climate change adaptation. On a personal level, it’s making sure your family and household is prepared for any disaster that may strike.
Today is a great opportunity to assess your own household’s readiness to weather a natural disaster. Your disaster kit should be stored in a safe, easily accessible location. A good start for your kit would be an emergency radio. Areas prone to tornadoes are advised to have a weather alert system.
Your kit should contain enough food and water for each person for at least 72 hours. Be sure to also include any prescriptions needed for that period of time, as well as food and water for any pets.
You’ll want to ensure your kit has a long-lasting flashlight, extra batteries, matches in a waterproof container and household bleach. Be sure to include a first aid kit with a first aid book and a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, along with a change of clothes and shoes for each person. You should also include copies of important household documents. Other supplies to add to your kit may include infant formula and diapers and personal hygiene products, plus disposable cups, plates, utensils and paper towels. Also, don’t forget cash…after a disaster, ATMs may be out of service or may run out of money quickly.
You may also consider including simple ways to pass the time while the power is out. For children, include crayons and pencils, along with a few puzzle books. Older kids and adults will appreciate The Lexicographer’s Extended Scrabble. With nearly twice the squares and letters as standard Scrabble, this is the board game that will keep you playing for hours.