Disasters are, by nature, inconvenient. In many cases you may be required to evacuate at a moment’s notice. For this reason, it's a good idea to prepare your Disaster Supplies Kit well in advance. Although relief workers and officials will jump into the post-disaster scene as soon as possible, it may take several days for them to reach everyone. Depending on your location in proximity to the disaster, help can arrive in hours or days.
Your Disaster Supplies Kit should help you carry on through this initial period of time and contain items to help you sustain livable conditions through water, electricity, water and sewage outages.
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation
- Food, a nonperishable supply to last at least 3 days
- Manual can opener for food
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio with a list of emergency radio stations
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- A first-aid kit
- A whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks to help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting in case you need to form shelter from the environment
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Important documents including copies of your drivers license and passport, bank account records numbers, insurance policies, proof of residence, and prescription information for any necessary medicine. Be sure to store these in a waterproof and portable container (for example, a plastic ziploc bag).
- Prescription medications and glasses
- All important documents (Wills, Bank Statement, Marriage Certificates, Passports, Proof of Insurance(s), photos of house/car/other high ticket possessions)
- Diapers if your family includes a baby
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Local maps
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pen
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Once you ensure that you and your family are prepared, then you can volunteer to help your community by training to be a member of the Community Emergency Response Team.
Here is some more detailed information on some of the most important items in your kit:
Disasters can disrupt sewage and plumbing systems, transportation and mobility, and the ability to purchase goods. In many post-disaster scenarios, there is a strong possibility of drinking water contamination and food supply shortage. The first days following a disaster are the most important to be prepared for, as it will take some time before response agencies are activated and external aid starts to arrive. Therefore, it is wise to be prepared for at least the first 3 to 5 days.
- 1 gallon of water per person per day. Don't forget water for your pets!
IF YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A STORE OF CLEAN WATER, HERE ARE TWO METHODS FOR PURIFYING POTENTIALLY CONTAMINATED WATER.
- Bring water to a vigorous boil for at least 1 minute.
- Mix with specific measurements of household liquid bleach:
- Add 8 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of clear water
- Add 16 drops (1/2 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water
- Mix thoroughly and let stand for 30 minutes.
- As a last resort, you can purify water from “trapped” reservoirs in your home, such as water heaters or toilet fill-tanks
- Nonperishable food and can opener, enough for each family member for 3 to 5 days. Remember to include pet food for any household pets.
- High protein rich food such as protein bars is recommended.
- Remember to check periodically for expiration dates. Replenish as necessarY.
FIRST AID KIT
While First Aid items can help you to prevent infection, stop bleeding, and assist in decontamination, you may consider taking a First-Aid class to teach you how to treat minor injuries. Some First Aid items to include in your kit are:
- Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Burn ointment
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminate
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
For more information on developing a First Aid Kit, visit http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit
To find information on First Aid or CPR Training classes offered by The Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class