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How would you survive a quarantine or other disaster?

Apr 30, 2009 | | Comments Comments Off

j04386301Swine flu quarantines in Mexico and the U.S. got me wondering: how would we cope with being “confined to quarters” for two or three weeks?

Quarantine preparation is a variation of the disaster preparedness each of us should do anyway, to make sure we can:

  • cope on our own without basic services for at least three days (and preferably a couple of weeks) in case of disaster and
  • promptly evacuate our house if necessary

Unlike other disasters, a quarantine wouldn’t cut us off from electricity, water supplies or other services, and we probably could get necessities delivered. But it still would be smart to keep a two-week supply of food, medicine, pet supplies and hygiene items in the house at all times. (Check out my column “The emergency fund you can eat” for details about preparing your pantry.)

If you don’t have a general disaster supplies kit, here’s a list of items the Red Cross recommends keeping in an easily-accessible place:

  • Water for at least three days (one gallon per person per day)
  • Food that won’t spoil or need much cooking (replace this food every six months)
  • A change of clothes, comfortable shoes, and blankets or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio or television, flashlight, extra batteries, lighter or matches, sanitation supplies, basic tools, and a few dishes and kitchen utensills
  • An extra set of car and house keys
  • A basic first-aid kit
  • A manual can opener
  • Personal hygiene items to last at least three days
  • A reminder to grab your prescriptions (or include copies of prescriptions)

I would add a few additional items:

  • Work gloves (for dealing with broken glass and other debris)
  • A pry bar (for debris and opening doors warped shut in shifting structures)
  • A wrench (for shutting off gas and water supplies if necessary)
  • A wad of cash sufficient to last at least three days

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