Build Your Own Kit
After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. It may be hours, or days for help to arrive. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?
Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won’t have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you’ve gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.
Six Basics That Every Kit Should Include
- Tools and Emergency Supplies
- Special Items (Medicines & Important documents)
Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.
- Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation)
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Staples — sugar, salt, pepper
- High energy foods — peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granloa bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Tools and Supplies
- Battery-powered (extra batteries) or hand crank radio
- Battery-powered (extra batteries) or hand crank flashlight
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Plastic storage containers
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Whistle to signal for help
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation ases)
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Household chlorine bleach
Clothing and Bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes.
- Helmet for each family member
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Sturdy shoes or work boots
- Blankets or sleeping bags
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or
- Heart and high blood pressure medication
- Contact lenses and supplies
Important Family Documents
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members.
Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.
- Keep items in air tight plastic bags.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Rotate your stored food every six months.
- Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.