Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t get a lot of flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes. But we do have plenty of wildfires. They say there’s also a good chance of some strong earthquakes in our future. Wherever you live in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a good idea to pack and store a 14-day survival kit for those times when the power is off, emergency personnel are out of reach, and your family simply needs to stay put and shelter in place.
To get some answers and complete a list of what is needed in a 14-day survival kit (with some coastal regions urging families to prepare for up to a month of food and water), we chatted with Meg Walker. This dynamo is a longtime Coastal employee, FEMA certified Community Emergency Response Team trainer, a certified search and rescue expert, and Vice President of the Marys Peak Search and Rescue out of Benton County.
Our Area Expert Knows How to Prepare
When it comes to search and rescue, Meg does it all. That includes working with her dog Maverick, a fit German Sheppard and Belgian Malinois mix, on his national certification and readiness as a member of the Region 3 Canine Search and Rescue. In other words, she knows how to be prepared and is happy to help others be ready for anything.
“If something happens, first responders might not be immediately available,” Meg said when asked why families should have two weeks of food and water on hand. “It’s all about being prepared.”
- Water (at least one gallon of water per person per day, or have the means to purify enough water quickly, such as filtration straws, tablets, or a way to boil water)
- Food (at least a 14-day supply of food for each family member)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA Weather Radio capability
- Flashlights (one for each adult)
- First aid kit (include pet-related first aid items as well)
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust masks (one per person)
- Plastic sheeting or Tarp and duct tape (to create a safe environment in your home)
- Personal sanitation (moist wipes, garbage bags, and twist ties)
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (gas, water, electricity)
- Manual can opener
- Local, paper maps
- Back up cell phone battery (or an off-grid method to charge your phone)
Extra ItemsThe basics will help you and your family weather some storms and disasters. To really prepare, experts urge you to have the following in your 14-day kit.
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications (pain relievers, antacids, etc.)
- Extra pairs of glasses
- Infant needs (formula, bottles, diapers)
- Cash ($100 in small bills)
- Important family documents (copies of insurance policies, banking information)
- Sleeping bags and warm blankets
- Complete change of clothing for each family member
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches or Firestarter (in waterproof container)
- Paper cups, plates, napkins, and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, and other non-electric activities
- Bleach and eyedropper (to sanitize water if needed
- Vet Wrap for Pets & People
Pet ItemsPets are part of the family, too. These items are a must-have to keep your pets happy and safe during an emergency.
- Pet food (enough for 14 days per pet)
- Pet toys and treats (to keep pets occupied and reduce their stress)
- Extra pet collar and tags
- Pet harness and leash (for all pets)
- Collapsible pet carrier and bed (put your pet’s name, care instructions, and your contact information on the outside of the crate)
- A blanket for each pet (to help keep them warm)
- Photo of you with your pet to help identify them and your ownership (include contact phone number, microchip information, age, and veterinary needs on the back of the photo).
- List of local shelters (addresses and phone numbers)
- List of hotels that allow pets
- Veterinary records for all your pets (this should include information about medications as well as a supply of any medications that are necessary to maintain their health).
Pack the Right FoodsOne of the first rules of storing emergency rations is to avoid storing foods that will make you thirsty. Some items you should store include
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Comfort/stress foods
Maintaining Your Emergency Kit
Once you have your emergency pack ready to go, you’ll need to manage and rotate the food at least four times per year. It’s not as hard as you think. Just look for food that is about to expire, move it into your family’s pantry, and replace the item in the emergency kit. Also, replace the batteries in your kit every 12 months, and double-check that you have the means to purify enough drinking water for your family.
Extra Kits for Work and the Rig
You never know when an emergency is going to occur, which is why it’s a good idea to have a smaller kit at work and in your vehicle. These can simply include basic food and water, a whistle or other attention-getting device, a flashlight, and first-aid kit.
Compile Your Kit at Coastal
You’ll find a lot of the items you need to create your own 14-day emergency kit at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Stock up on non-perishable Mountain House freeze-dried food with a shelf life of 20 years, camping stoves from brands like Coleman, extra propane, sleeping bags, generators, flashlights, Yeti coolers, and a lot more in our camping and hunting department.
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