This morning’s earthquake in Japan may go down in the record books in magnitude, and tsunami warnings have put many coastal communities on high alert around the world. As I write this, the size of the tsunamis and the extent of damage have yet to be seen. Many island people and those living along the coasts of places as far away as Mexico, Canada, and the entire west coast of the U.S. are on alert. This is a big one, folks. I couldn’t sleep early this morning so I got out of bed and went online. When I saw the news reports, I was dumbstruck. I thought about the people I know in the Philippines who were being evacuated to high ground. I thought about my good friends who called me just a couple of weeks ago from Hawaii, who must be glad that they didn’t delay their vacation until now. I thought about my son, who attends college at Western Washington University, in Bellingham, WA, on the north coast of our state. I thought about all the people in Japan who are dealing with such incredible devastation. My heart and best thoughts go out to all people who are dealing with the tragic events of this day. I understand that Japan leads the world in emergency preparedness. Devastating earthquakes in 1923 and 1995 were incentives to build sturdier buildings and to educate citizens on how to stay safe during emergencies. I’m not sure if people in Japan keep a water filter for emergency use, but it wouldn’t surprise me. At times like these, stores are flooded with people stocking up on provisions, including bottled water. Stocks can be wiped out in a very short time. Food and water can become scarce during emergencies. Being prepared can be life-saving. Having a good portable water filter is always a good idea if you are concerned about natural disasters in your area. If you have to leave home fast, having an emergency kit available to grab and go will save precious time and will help you to deal with potentially dangerous situations. Earthquakes and floods can render drinking water undrinkable, unless you have a way to filter or purify contaminated water. If you want to be prepared for any situation, here are some suggestions for what to include in any emergency kit from FEMA’s website, Ready America:
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
In addition, there are many secondary items to consider like prescription drugs, diapers, pet foods, important documents, and cash. For a complete list, click here.

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