MILPITAS (KPIX 5) — Between last week’s PG&E power shutoffs and the earthquakes over the past 24 hours, emergency preparedness has probably jumped the top of the to-do list for many Bay Area residents.
Those recent events underscore the importance of having a disaster kit ready.
“It reminds us all to be prepared,” said Cynthia Shaw, a spokesperson for the Silicon Valley Red Cross.
The Red Cross says every disaster kit should have some basic building blocks: a supply of non-perishable food and water, medicine, personal hygiene products, a first aid and basic safety supplies.
“Water is the big thing and it’s the bulkiest item. You need three gallons per person per day,” Shaw said.
The Red Cross recommends checking the expiration dates for food and water every six months to make sure they’re still good.
In addition to food and water, it’s also important to have supplies of whatever medications you take in your disaster kit. It might not be possible to get back home or to a pharmacy in the middle of an emergency.
“We have a lot of people who need medicine to keep them alive. So, how are you going to handle that it in a disaster,” Shaw said. That same advice about food, water and medicine also applies to your pets.
The Red Cross recommends having a basic tool kit you can use to shut off your gas or board up a broken window if need be.
And finally, because we live in a digital age, the Red Cross says it’s important to have a portable battery to charge your devices, a thumb drive with important documents and an old-fashioned, hand-crank radio.
“It’s really important to have a regular radio — a hand-crank or battery-operated radio — so you can listen for information about what’s going on in a disaster,” Shaw said.
One other item that would be good to include in any emergency kit: cash. If the power is out, there is no telling when you might be able to use credit or debit cards again.