This article will focus on building a disaster supply kit for your family. Information on how to prepare for other emergency planning before and after a disaster may be found at http://www.ready.gov and http://www.cdc.gov/features/beready
Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. You can download this plan at http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2013.pdf
BUILD A KIT
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency.
You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
• 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 decontaminant
• 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
Other first aid supplies:
• Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
• Cash or traveler's checks and change
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• 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, paper towels and plastic utensils
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Plan ahead to protect your family.