An important part of creating your farm disaster plan is preparing a kit that is in a safe place with easy access. Consider storing the following in large, thick plastic garbage cans with lids.
Stocking water reserves should be a top priority. Drinking water in emergency situations should not be rationed. Therefore, it’s critical to store adequate amounts of water for your household and barnyard. Because you will also need water for sanitary purposes and, possibly, for cooking, you should store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day, in thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Sound plastic containers, such as soft-drink bottles, are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.
Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely; the only exception is for children and pregnant women. Use canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. Canned foods do not require cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener in your disaster kit. Replace items in your food supply every six months. Consider including ready-to-eat meats, fruits and vegetables; canned or boxed juices, milk and soup; high-energy foods, like peanut butter, low-sodium crackers, granola bars and trail mix; vitamins; foods for infants or persons on special diets; cookies; hard candy; instant coffee; and cereals.
3. First-aid kits, including manuals, for your home and for your vehicles
Include these items:
- adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- safety pins
- cleansing agents (isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide)
- antibiotic ointment
- latex gloves
- petroleum jelly
- 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (four to six of each size)
- triangular bandage
- 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (three rolls each)
- cotton balls
- moistened towelettes
- tongue depressor blades
- extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
- nonprescription drugs, like pain relievers, antacids, laxatives and cough/cold
- If you require routine prescription medications, ask your physician or pharmacist about storing them.
Also include a livestock first-aid kit if you have animals on the farm.
4. Tools and other items
Include a portable, battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, signal flares, matches in a waterproof container, shut-off wrench, pliers, shovel, whistle, A-B-C-type fire extinguisher, tube tent, mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, all-purpose knife, household liquid bleach to treat drinking water, sugar, salt, pepper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap, resealable plastic bags.
5. Sanitation and hygiene items
Include a washcloth and towel, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorants, comb and brush, razor, shaving cream, lip balm, insect repellent, contact lens solutions, mirror, feminine supplies, heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and ties, toilet paper, medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid.
6. Household documents and contact numbers
Have ready to go on short notice and stored in a watertight container—your personal identification; cash or traveler’s checks and a credit card; copies of important documents like birth certificate, marriage certificate, driver’s license, social security card, passport, will, deeds, inventory of household goods, insurance papers, immunizations records, bank and credit card account numbers, stocks and bonds; emergency contact list and phone numbers; map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go; and an extra set of car keys and house keys.
7. Clothes and bedding
Keep one complete change of clothing and footwear for each household member and three sets of socks and underwear, sturdy work shoes or boots, rain gear, hat and gloves, sunglasses, blankets, sleeping bag and pillow for each household member.
This article was excerpted from "Why Have a Farm Disaster Plan?” which first appeared in the June/July 2003 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.