It’s not something you might like to think about, but many of you will have been affected by floods over this exceptionally wet summer, and having a disaster kit prepared could be a great help. Here Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for home insurance comparison site Confused.com, lets us know his top tips to being prepared.
The recent weather in certain parts of the UK has been pretty bad to say the least, with floods and storms causing massive amounts of damage to homes and cars and causing injury. A recent survey by Zurich showed that people believe that emergency planning for events such as floods was poor at best, leaving the onus on us to brave the storm. Although we don’t have disasters that are as bad as those in, say, the States, I think we should take a leaf out of America’s book and have our own ‘grab and go’ disaster kits ready for when the floods hit.
Once the initial impact of the flood, fire or storm has subsided, it adds insult to injury to find that your important documents have perished. Your passport, your driver’s license, your home insurance documents – all gone. In your disaster kit, keep photocopies of all these documents so you have them to hand at all times.
It’s also important to keep an up to date map in your kit. Using a mobile phone for navigation to a safe area is all well and good, but the battery will eventually run out and in adverse weather conditions your signal will be poor. You can also obtain copies of your local flood map from your local Environment Agency office, which uses Ordnance Survey data to keep up to date maps of areas that could be at risk from flooding.
Food and water
Depending on the severity of the disaster, you may only be away from your home for a few hours, or you could have to evacuate for over a week. Be prepared either way and pack enough food and water for you and your family to get by until you are able to return to your property. Water is an absolute must. In a pinch you can get by without food for a short while, but you have to have a supply of clean drinking water. If possible, pack collapsible water containers so you save space.
When it comes to food, don’t bother with creature comforts. Tinned food works well but takes up space, and most dried food requires cooking with extra water, so work out a compromise between the two as you pack. Chocolate bars are also good for giving you a quick boost of energy, so include a few of those in your kit.
This is your standard ‘survival gear’ that should help you in almost any emergency situation. A first aid kit with some over the counter medicines is a must, as in the chaos and confusion it’s all too easy to get hurt. A torch with spare batteries is a useful piece of kit to pack, but if you can get one then a windup torch is much better.
A Swiss army knife is the classic all-round survival tool, and it would be worth adding one to your emergency kit. The corkscrew might not be too useful unless you find yourself taking shelter in a vineyard, but the other tools could help you in a pinch.
This section will change depending on your circumstances and on who makes up your survival party. For babies, pack spare nappies and powdered baby formula. If you have young children, a deck of cards or a colouring book would be useful to stave off boredom. Elderly relatives might also need spare batteries for hearing aids, or special prescription medication. These special items should take precedence over most other things in the kit, so you might have to compromise a little when packing.
Preparation is key to getting through an emergency situation with as little hassle as possible. If it comes to it and your family have to evacuate your home, this little ‘grab and go’ bag can make these horrible situations a little more bearable.