Essentially there are 3 steps to getting prepared for a disaster. The first is to learn about disasters and how to keep safe. Next is creating a household emergency plan, so knowing what you and the others in your household will do in a disaster. Finally, preparing and maintaining emergency survival items and a getaway kit.
The first step is a personal one, reading the information on this site is a good start but you can further educate yourself by using the resources listed at the bottom of this page.
The second step requires a bit more thinking and planning, especially if there are other household members. Making sure everyone knows what to do and where to meet if a disaster should occur. This step includes things such as finding out where your nearest evacuation shelter is, informing your CO supervisor of your emergency contact information and who to contact at home and registering with your consulate/embassy.
The JET GIH also suggests that you exchange the contact information of your family back home with someone who lives close to you that speaks your native language in case of injury or hospitalization. Additionally informing them about the NTT Web171 disaster message board and registering on there will help too. Think about what actions you will take if a disaster should occur.
The third step is important in case services such as electricity, water and even access to supermarkets are affected by a disaster. There are many lists available online on what you should include in your emergency survival items and getaway kit but most have similar structure: food and water to last three days, first aid kit, prescription medicines, radio with power source, flashlight, dust mask, sleeping bag/blankets, copies of important documents and emergency supply of cash.
First at the 2014 JET Winter Conference, and then at the 2014 JET Welcome Orientation, JETs receive a form that includes important numbers and contact information they should have available, as well as an emergency kit and getway kit checklist from the New Zealand Civil Defense force. This form and checklist is available here.
A note on how to safely store water:
- Wash bottles thoroughly in hot water.
- Fill each bottle with tap water until it overflows.
- Add five drops of household bleach per litre of water (or half a teaspoon for 10 litres) and put in storage. Do not drink for at least 30 minutes after disinfecting.
- Do not use bleaches that contain added scent or perfume, surfactants or other additives – they can make people sick.
- Label each bottle with dates showing when the bottles were filled and when they need to be refilled.
- Check the bottles every 12 months. If the water is not clear, throw it out and refill clean bottles with clean water and bleach.
- Store bottles away from direct sunlight in a cool dark place. Keep them in two separate places and where there is not likely to be flooding.
Or you could fill and freeze bottles of water. This will provide you with a source of drinking water and something to keep any perishable food cool for a day or so.