Ask Alex: Disaster Preparation

Alex Belt

Alex Belt

Hurricane season has arrived, and there has already been an outbreak of flooding across the Houston area. Are you ready for this or some other disaster?

As a single mother, it is up to me to keep my children safe when any disaster happens. Here are a few questions about disaster preparation that friends have asked me.

Greg and Evette Sissel displaying the contents of their bug-out bag.

Greg and Evette Sissel displaying the contents of their bug-out bag.


Q. What is a bug-out bag or a 72 hour bag?

A. When disaster strikes, two things are immediately essential: getting out of the area and getting out of there quickly. Also known as a BOB, a bug-out bag is designed to help people do just that. It usually comes in the form of a heavy-duty backpack containing everything needed during and immediately after any emergency.

Q. What essentials should a BOB contain?

A. My BOBs contain items that will help my family and me survive for 72 hours during any disaster. Everyone in my family has their own backpack with most of these supplies: weapons, map of area, compass, binoculars, food for three days such as beef jerky, sunflower seeds, protein bars, tuna packets and dried fruit, water for three days, a water purification LifeStraw, copies of birth certificate, driver’s license and insurance card, cash, extra clothing, first aid kit, antibiotics, pain medicine, duct tape, fire starter equipment, a two-way radio with extra batteries, hygiene products, toilet paper, garbage bags, flashlights, headlamps, glow sticks, survival blankets, sleeping bag, small tent, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, sunscreen, whistle, can opener, coffee and a deck of playing cards.

If we decide not to leave our home, how much water is needed to keep our family safe?

A. One gallon per person per day is the minimum amount of water you should have on hand. Don’t forget extra for your pets. Always have water purification equipment, tablets or a LifeStraw. You will use water for things other than just drinking. Remember, you can never have too much water!

Q. What kind of food should I have stored at my home in case a disaster hits?

A. During a disaster, the last thing you need to do is go to the grocery store, so it is important to have food stored at home. Create your food storage based on your family’s needs and likes, and don’t forget to have a manual can opener. Here is what I have in my food storage on a daily basis: 10 pounds of dried beans, 20 cans of vegetables, 20 cans of fruit, 20 cans of meat, 10 canned main dishes, two large jars of peanut butter, two large jars of Nutella, two large jars of powdered drink mix, water, two pounds of powdered milk, five pounds of salt, 10 pounds of pasta,  five pounds of pancake mix, 10 jars of spaghetti sauce, 20 cans of soup and broth, a large jar of oil, hard candy, crackers, cereal and protein bars.