No. 983



Several months ago I presented a column titled “SHELTER BOX: A Truly Great Idea,” that set forth ideas for use in the event of manmade or natural disasters where large numbers of people are displaced for an extended period of time. The organization, based in the United Kingdom, had meticulously determined the most basic and pressing needs to include in a pre-packaged box for mass distribution.
Well, one of my local readers, Delores Campbell, wrote me and wanted it even more basic for our use here in this country. I challenged her to come up with a list and she did. Following are the items she would include and it’s pretty comprehensive. It may be very helpful if it is something you wish to do on your own.
“The number one item is water. No one can survive long without it. We need water for drinking, preparing food and for washing anything. You would also need glass or plastic containers of several different sizes, with tight-fitting lids that have only been used for food. Store these in a dry place away from chemicals. Water must be from a clean tap, and should you leave home because of a natural disaster you will need water purification tablets. You should replace yearly if necessary. If clean water is not available, you will need a product called ‘Lifestraw’ that will filter out just about anything.
“You may need a well-constructed tent big enough for your family and also some thermal Mylar blankets. Large plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids are needed for storage of your items. A medical kit is also necessary, including adhesive tape, alcohol, antacid, pain remedies, antiseptics, band aids, Epsom salts, soaps and shampoos, combs, cotton balls, cough syrup, tooth brushes, toothpaste, peroxide, razors and blades, feminine products for women, Vaseline, and any prescriptions that you may have stored up. If babies are involved, diapers and baby powder, etc.
“Use a separate tub for cleaning and hygiene products like ammonia, dish and laundry soap, disinfectants, sponges, trash bags, aluminum foil, facial tissues, plastic dishes, cups, tableware, paper towels, plastic wrap, wax paper and toilet paper. Should auto maintenance be needed related to upkeep, things like air filters, antifreeze, batteries, brake fluid, motor oil, transmission fluid, gasoline, etc.
“For food items, many things can be kept for years if kept dry and stored properly, such as dried beans, rice, dried peas, sugar, syrup, tea, coffee, corn starch, gelatin, jars of honey, jams, molasses, soy sauce, vinegar, cooking oil, flour, salt, soda, noodles, pepper, dried fruit, dried meats and vitamins. Canned foods will last for two to three years. Pots and pans are also a must, and don’t forget matches and a camping stove of some kind if you will be living outdoors. You will also need bath towels, dish cloths, and cleaning cloths, and any clothing that is necessary including coats, caps and gloves.
“A length of rope and some wire are needed for certain situations, along with a good pair of scissors and a couple of good camping knives is a must. It would also be good to have other small tools like a hammer, screwdriver, wire pliers, hack saw and an assortment of wrenches.”
Well, that’s it, but of course you can always add more things. Delores is to be commended for her initiative, and these days who knows when we might need it. Use her ideas if they will help you. Again, who knows, this could very well save some precious lives.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)