On Tuesday, February 22, a 6.-magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. The quake was closer to the surface than a similar quake that hit the region one year before. That first quake claimed no lives, but sadly, the story is much different this year. At the time of this writing, hundreds of people are still missing and dozens are confirmed dead. The death toll is expected to climb as the recovery work continues over the next few weeks.

In this disaster, like many others, there are stories of regular, everyday people stepping in as rescuers. The massive rescue effort now involves more than 300 people, who have rescued 20 people so far. This brings to mind two simple questions for us here at OL Survival: Are you prepared if this happened in your city? And would you be prepared to help others?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my two answers are yes and yes. So where do you begin?

First of all, preparing for most natural disasters is surprisingly similar. We could easily make a 200-item list, but let’s start with the top five, assuming that vital prescription meds and home defense armaments are a given.

Here are the top five things you’ll need:

1) A back up shelter in case your home is destroyed. A tent and sleeping bags work for most people and climates.

2) A 5-gallon jug of water per teen or adult, and a jug to share between 2-3 smaller children. I purchase water in jugs because they are treated to have a good shelf life and I can use them in my water cooler dispenser whether I have power or not. This much water could last you a week if you are frugal.

3) High-calorie foods that are ready to eat with no cooking required. MREs and high-calorie canned foods are great, and you can eat them right out of the container.

4) Sanitation items like toilet paper and a bucket with lid for an improvised toilet; baby wipes for bathing and cleaning; hand sanitizer and specialty items based on your expected group. This could be anything from baby diapers and feminine products, to catheters and adult diapers. Have what your friends and family would need.

5) First aid supplies and the training to use them. Don’t skimp here. The range of possible injuries can be great. Keep first aid supplies it in a secure location that wouldn’t be buried in the rubble of a destroyed house. The basement would not be good A locked shed or car trunk would be much better. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. That’s my motto.

Photo: nzgabriel