A low cost, three day emergency supplies kit

- The state of California provides four small print pages and states that one must have everything listed to have a proper emergency safety kit. The problem is, most of us don't have this stuff and never will. So let's look at what you really need to have.

First, we start with two medium sized garbage cans and they should be metal. Why metal? Because you don't want rodents getting into them. It's critically important to make sure you have enough lights that work. And, don't forget: lights don't work unless they have plenty of batteries. And you’ll need plenty of batteries, because the power most likely is going to be out. One more thing: In a real disaster, people are likely to get hurt. Make sure you have, at very least, a small first aid kit.

Next stop: the grocery store. Now remember, we're buying for just three days, not three months. First thing: a gallon of water per person per day. In this case, for two people, you would need six gallons. It's important to keep this water separated from the other supplies so, just in case it leaks, you won't screw everything else up.

The best things to buy are well protected canned meats, fruits and vegetables. Any crackers or other snacking foods should be in re-sealable packages. The whole idea is to have food that can sit for long periods of time without losing nutrition of flavor. The California Department of Health posts an entire list.

Everything I bought was for about $100 and nothing needs a can opener. Each has a relatively long shelf life and doesn't require any cooking at all. And be very, very careful of expiration dates. For example, a bag of Ruffles chips will last all the way to November 7th.  But a box of Pringles will last until November of next year. Best advice: write the expiration date on the top of the package. Then, when it gets close to its expiration date, eat it.  Replace it with something with a much later expiration date.

Then pack everything up and put it in a place you can reach should you house be severely damaged in an earthquake. So why metal cans? Well rats and other rodents can chew through plastic. You sure don't want that to happen. When everything is all covered and sealed up, write the date that you did it on the top so you know when to go back and look to change things out.   


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