Disaster kits for a family of five can be 'overwhelming'

KING 5's Ryan Takeo reports.

After a full day of coverage on disaster preparedness, one Facebook commenter still had a big question: Where do I start?

“It gets a little overwhelming,” said Lynn Jimenez of Port Angeles. “It makes it a little bit more challenging when you have a larger amount of people that you have to take care of.”

Emergency managers now say the new emergency kit standard is 14 days, not three like previously publicized.

Jimenez and her husband have three children. They also have two pets. She felt preparation was vital, but was concerned of her budget.

“The water needs alone, storage, and then you get into pet food and kid food,” she said. “Any of the pre-made or prepared things you can buy online, they’re a few hundred dollars. You’re talking $300-$500.”

She had some things together, like documents, a weather radio, and kerosene lamps.

“The pieces are there, it’s just kind of putting them together and filling it in,” she said.

The Jimenez family’s emergency food pantry only had enough to get them through a couple of days – without any water on standby.

Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc said Jimenez should not be embarrassed, because she’s not alone.

“Quite frankly and unfortunately, you are as well prepared as the majority of folks are. That’s the reality of it,” he told Jimenez. “What I don’t recommend, typically, is that people just kind of go crazy and all of a sudden spend a whole lot of money all at once.”

Dubuc said instead of making a long list of supplies, he advised Jimenez start small.

“I think probably the better case is, every time you go shopping, just get one little something,” he said, advising Jimenez start with buying 24 packs of water and placing them around the house. “One of those in the trunk of the car. One of those in your pantry. One of them under your bed. One of them in the garage. They cost three bucks. It’s cheap insurance.”

Next, he said she should buy more canned foods. But he said most parents buy emergency food their children don’t normally eat.

Lastly, Dubuc recommended buying one or two survival packs of food for a family of five.

Dubuc said she should strategically split up the family’s supplies.

“You don’t want to necessarily keep it in one place,” he said, just in case an emergency wipes out one stash. He advised having one kit in your car and maybe one in the backyard.

“Put them in a container that’s vermin proof, water proof,” he added. “Plastic tub with a lid that’s a tight fitting.”

Being helped through the process put Jimenez more at ease.

“It makes it more affordable and makes it less overwhelming and more manageable,” she said. “You need to have room for them in your car, you need to have something in your home, in several places apparently in your home. That was a point from the fire chief that I hadn’t thought of.

“It’s just finding a way of working and getting it to where I can afford to do it. I could find the practical locations for it and make it work in our lifestyle.”

Join KING 5’s Disaster Preparedness Facebook group and learn how you and your community can get ready for when disaster strikes.

© 2017 KING-TV


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