Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Emergency Stockpile And 'Ready To Go' Kits

The Californian Department of Health Services has a 'bird flu battle plan', which you can view here. Of interest, are the preparedness steps the department is urging the public to take to deal with the outbreak of a bird flu pandemic.

We'll get to the home stockpiling in a moment, but a story on the report estimates some 35% of the US population could fall ill during a pandemic. That's more than 100 million Americans. Based on fatality rates for the infected in Indonesia, that rate of infection would result in more than 70 million dead. Even at a 50% fatality rate, some 50 million Americans would die.

If the Bush administration, and various state legislatures, really believe the pandemic is a coming reality, and it's clear that they do, it is no surprise then to see a huge state like California busily promoting the 'avoidance' measures of dealing with a pandemic. That is, stockpile food and supplies and stay in your home as much as possible until the pandemic passes.

The California Department of Health Services also pushes the prevention-as-cure angle, including :

Frequent, vigorous hand washing, an annual flu vaccine, covering your nose and mouth with coughing and sneezing and avoiding going into the public when you are sick are measures any responsible person should already take to ward off colds and the flu.

More here :

...official orders to stay at home could become a reality, even if you aren't infected. That will mean an emergency preparedness cache of supplies will be crucial.

"Social distancing measures such as wearing masks, staying home if sick, and canceling school and public events," could be necessary, says the CDHS report.

Given the unknown duration of a pandemic, you may need more than the typical three days of food and water and other supplies recommended in a basic emergency preparedness kit, as well as a host of other items.

The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are now publishing and promoting the stockpiling of 'ready-to-go' kits.

Choose a large camping backpack, duffel back, or even a garbage bin on wheels. Put it somewhere you can easily access it, when you have to get moving fast.

The basics of what to put inside your 'ready-to-go' stockpile kit :

  • One gallon of water per person per day.
  • A three-day supply of nonperishable, compact, lightweight foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Pack a can of sterno for foods you must heat. Pack high energy foods, vitamins, food for infants and some comfort and stress foods.
  • A first aid kit for your home and one for each car. The kit should at least include: sterile dressing, gauze, germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer, medical grade non-latex gloves, adhesive tape, 2" width, anti-bacterial ointment, cold pack, scissors, tweezers, CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield, non-prescription pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, Syrup of Ipecac, a laxative, activated charcoal.
  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils, an emergency preparedness manual, extra batteries for battery-operated devices including a radio, flashlight and other items, cash, travelers checks, change, utility knife with can opener, fire extinguisher, tube tent, hardware tools, water proofed matches, area map, signal flare, paper, pencils, whistle, and other items recommended by FEMA and the Red Cross.
  • For sanitation you'll also need toilet paper, towelettes, Soap, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags and ties, a plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household bleach.
  • Don't forget special items. A change of clothes, sturdy shoes or work boots, rain gear, sleeping gear, hats, gloves, etc.
  • Personal items include baby items, prescription drugs, contact lenses or extra eye glasses, as well as games, books, small portable electronics, important family documents, records, numbers and identification, a household inventory and other items.

Clearly, the stockpile would serve equally well if you were forced to stay in your home for an extended period of time, though clearly you would need to add more water and food.

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