Dozens of people died during the record snowfall in western New York last week. Although the risk may not be as great in the Kansas City area, preparing for bad weather is still a good idea.
A complete winter weather emergency kit, or “go bag,” should contain a combination of supplies needed to survive, along with tools that can come in handy in emergency situations. Go bags are useful in situations when a quick evacuation is required, but they also can be helpful for people who find themselves suddenly stuck in a car or at home during a blizzard.
A good emergency supply kit has three days’ worth of water and food per person, according to Ready.gov. This means roughly 2,000 calories of food and a gallon of water for each person for each day. These kits also should include items such as can openers, maps, basic tools, garbage bags and duct tape.
Consider including LifeStraw or a similar product with a small water filter that filters out viruses, bacteria and parasites from dirty water. LifeStraw also sells water bottles with an integrated filter so in a snow emergency users can fill up a water bottle with melted snow and drink it without fear.
The go bag also should include items such as a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries and backup cell phone chargers, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Additionally, consider purchasing a multi-use tool such as a Swiss army knife.
It also is important to have a seven-day supply of necessary medications and copies of important personal documents in the go bag, according to the American Red Cross. Although a person who is riding out a storm at home likely has full access to a medicine cabinet, this is not the case when someone in a car gets stuck during winter weather. In addition to any necessary medications, it’s a good idea to keep a small supply of over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil in a car’s emergency kit.
A blanket in a bright color can be used to signal for help in addition to providing heat. If possible, it’s a smart move to include some cash, because power outages may make paying with credit or with debit cards impossible.
–Alan Goforth | MV