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Why This is Important
In a pandemic, health care
services may be overwhelmed, or you may not
wish to leave home and risk exposure to the
flu virus. You may be required to
administer more advanced medical care to
yourself or others than you have in the
past. If communications with a healthcare
provider is available, you will need supplies
and knowledge to be able to follow their
directions. If no medical care is
available, you might find yourself the sole
provider of care for those around you. You will
need supplies and skills.
SuppliesEssential supplies include a first aid kit and emergency dental kit. These come in all sizes and can be tailored to fit your situation. Remember to include medical supplies for children and pets, who may require different sizes of supplies or strengths of medications. An example first aid kit is described at Ready America and includes the following items:
- sterile gloves (latex, or nitrile if you are allergic to latex)
- sterile dressings to stop bleeding and to protect wounds
- cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
- antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
- burn ointment to prevent infection
- adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
- prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine, and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates
- prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
Other important things to have:
- Cell Phone
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Pain relievers (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for upset stomach)
Emergency Dental Kits:
You can find emergency dental kits online,
in drugstores and in camping stores, or you can
put together your own. Kits vary, but
usually include ways to temporarily repair or
treat lost fillings, toothaches, broken
dentures, and loose crowns and bridges.
They do not provide permanent solutions, but
could help you get through a rough time until
you can get dental care.
Taking a basic first aid class will give
you the skills and confidence to use your
supplies in an emergency situation.
Check with local public safety organizations
such as American Red Cross for basic first aid
and CPR classes. Take the time NOW to schedule
Get a good first aid book and also "Where There is no Doctor", and "Where There is no Dentist". These are available free on-line at The Hesperian Foundation.
Why This is Important
This means you might be out of a job, perhaps for months. This also means there might not be food in stores, any money in banks, no available health care. There might not be a way for you to get more resources (food, money, etc.) and you will have to live on what you have in your possession at the beginning of the pandemic
Massive disasters such as Hurricane Katrina
highlight the importance of financial
preparedness. Like all financial
matters, there is no single answer for
everyone. Financial experts suggest the
- Cash on hand. An extra supply of
cash is necessary. During a pandemic,
electricity may be out. This means ATM
machines and credit card machines may not
work, and checks may not be accepted.
Cash may be the only payment that businesses
are able to accept. Even if electricity
is available, the number of sick or dead
workers may mean no restocking of ATM
What is a good amount of cash to keep on hand? Some example guidelines:
- about $50 per family or household member
- at least $200
- enough for 1 tank of gas plus one week’s worth of food and essential supplies
Small bills are best, in case you cannot get change. A roll or two of quarters is also a good idea. You can build this up by putting your loose change in a jar.
Be careful of theft and security concerns. Consider a fireproof lockbox.
- Build up a savings cushion.
Planning for a pandemic entails thinking about
long term employment interruption.
"Being able to work may be difficult or impossible. Plan for the possible reduction or loss of income if you are unable to work or your place of employment is closed."
Official U.S. Government Pandemic Web site
Financial experts advise people even in regular times to try to maintain at least three months of living expenses, to be used if they have an emergency. Have one month of money at home in a fireproof lockbox, and keep the other two months in a savings account. This is a difficult but worthwhile goal. Start small and build as you can. Even having just a month’s rent or mortgage payment in a savings account would give you greater security and flexibility.
- Preparation is savings. Food costs have risen dramatically and will likely continue to rise. Food is ‘insurance you can eat’ and has a place in financial planning. Building your food pantry NOW means that you will not have to pay more to stock up later. Over time, the savings enables you to purchase other necessities.
Why This Is Important
In any crisis, people need to have a reliable way of getting news and communicating with others. Pandemic flu has the potential of causing disruption to many essential services, including electricity, phone, cable, and internet services.
a. Getting timely emergency news can be crucial to both health and safety.
b. For medical emergencies and certain chronic illnesses, backup communications are a necessity.
- A good windup, solar, or
battery-operated radio should be in every
household. AM/FM is fine, although some
people may appreciate having additional
shortwave bands. If needed, store extra
- A battery-operated
weather radio should also be included,
preferably one that supports the S.A.M.E.
alert or a tone alarm.
- Land-line telephone. This is the
phone that you just plug in to your house
phone jack. It is powered by amplifiers
in the phone system, so it may work
even if your power is out. Cordless phones or ones that are
plugged into an electrical outlet do not work
if the power is out.
- Cell phones use repeaters (at cell
towers) to receive and then re-broadcast
messages. If the cell tower has no backup
electrical supply, your cell phone may be
useless, regardless of how fresh your
- Radios. Several types are available.
- Handheld FRS (family radio service)
radios. The new generation of
walkie-talkies. They are inexpensiv e,
easy to use, and can provide neighborhood
- no license required
- range: ˝ to 1 mile
An internet search of "FRS- GMRS" will provide detailed information on the capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages of these radios.
- Handheld GMRS (general mobile radio
service) radios. Similar to FRS
- license required
- range: 3-5 miles
- Ham Radio. For those needing
radio backup over longer distances, consider
becoming an amateur radio operator. A
license is required for this, but the Morse
code requirement has been eliminated. For
more information, see The National
Associaton for Amateur Radio.
- These radios would be useful if
phone lines were down but do require
electricity or batteries. For
battery-powered equipment, a good backup is a
combination of rechargeable batteries and a
small solar charger. Chargers for rechargeable
batteries are smaller than a shoebox.
- Handheld FRS (family radio service) radios. The new generation of walkie-talkies. They are inexpensiv e, easy to use, and can provide neighborhood communication.