After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Basic services, such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even weeks. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take only essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you will need. A Disaster Supplies Kit can help your family stay safe and be more comfortable after a disaster.
A Disaster Supplies Kit is a collection of basic items that members of a household would probably need in the event of a disaster. The items are stored in a portable container(s) near, or as close as possible to, the exit door. Every household should assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit and keep it up to date. The number of people in a household and their ages and abilities will determine how many containers will be required to carry the kit items.
You should assemble and maintain a portable Disaster Supplies Kit that you can use at home or can take with you if you must evacuate. In addition, if you have a vehicle, you should always keep it stocked with basic emergency supplies.
In a disaster situation, you may need access to your Disaster Supplies Kit quickly – whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Store the items in sturdy, clearly labeled, easy-to-carry containers near the door, if possible. Duffel bags, backpacks, and covered trash receptacles are good candidates for containers. In addition to a three to seven-day supply of food and water in your Disaster Supplies Kit, you should consider maintaining a two-week supply of food and water in your home.
- Food (3 – 7 day supply in the kit / 2-week supply in your house).
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First Aid Kit (specific recommendations)
- Watch or clock with alarm.
ASSEMBLE YOUR DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
- Water: (3 – 7 gallons per person in the kit / 4 gallons per person in your home).
- Portable charger or solar charger for cell phones, laptops, iPads.
- Portable, battery-powered radio and fresh batteries or hand crank AM/FM radio. Cash and coins.
- Medications – prescription and non-prescription and other medical necessities (walker, oxygen, etc.) of personal identification, medical prescriptions, insurance policies, bank information and credit cards.
- Extra set of car keys and house keys.
- Waterproof matches.
- Map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers.
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk and medications.
- Denture needs, contact lenses/supplies.
- Items for seniors, disabled persons or anyone with serious allergies.
- Household liquid bleach and/or water filtration systems and iodine tablets.
- Kitchen access.: manual can opener; mess kits/disposable cups, plates, utensils; utility knife; sugar, salt; aluminum foil, plastic wrap; resalable bags.
- For each person: one complete change of clothing and footwear, including sturdy work shoes or boots, raingear, and other items adjusted for the season, such as hat and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust mask. Include wet weather gear; blankets or sleeping bag or space blankets.
- Paper, clipboard, pencils; needles, thread; small A-B-C type fire extinguisher; medicine dropper; whistle
- Extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries.
- Small tent, camping gear (mess kit, stove, fuel, air mattress) compass, small shovel, utility or pocket knife, multi-tool, gloves, mask, safety glasses, ear plugs, insect repellent.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items: toilet paper, paper towels, woolite, towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm, sunscreen, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses), medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach.
- Entertainment, such as games and books. Favorite comfort dolls, stuffed animals for small children.
STORE IN YOUR HANDHELD DEVICES AND/OR PHONES
- Contact information for family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
- Contact information for insurance, medical, roadside services.
- Manuals for your gear: radios, generators, chainsaws, etc.
- Local and county emergency numbers.
- Apps: first aid, pet first aid, emergency alerts, repeater directory and band plan for your Ham Radios.
- Regular and emergency veterinary numbers and boarding facilities.
TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR DISASTER SUPPLIES KITS
- Keep items in separate airtight plastic bags. This will help protect them from damage or spoiling.
- Observe the expiration or “use by” date on stored food and water. If you have prepared your own containers of water, replace them every 6 months.
- Rethink your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update medicines, clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications. You may find that the best solution is to gradually acquire a reserve by refilling prescriptions a little early, but always using those on hand first to avoid having the expiration dates lapse. Be sure they are stored to meet instructions on the label. It may be difficult to obtain prescription medications during a disaster because stores may be closed or supplies may be limited. Keep copies of essential prescriptions with you at all times.
- Use easy-to-carry containers for the supplies you would most likely need for an evacuation. Label them clearly. Think about using:
- Large trash container with handles and a cover.
- Camping backpack.
- Duffel bag.
- Cargo container that fits on the roof of your vehicle.
- Insulate cooler that protects stored items in hot climates.
- Store water separately to prevent damage from leakage.
- Always keep your cell phone with you. Do not pack it in the kit. Consider getting an extra cell phone battery to keep with your Disaster Supplies Kit.
DISASTER SUPPLIES CHECKLIST FOR PETS
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. A pet first aid book/app for your phone is good to have on hand.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, muzzle if needed, jackets and carriers to transport pets safely. Make sure the carrier is large enough to be comfortable if your pet has to stay in it for a long period of time while you have taken shelter away from home.
- Provide comfort items in the carrier, such as blankets, towels or special toys.
- Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated and to prove that they are yours. Have your pets microchipped for easy identification. Have proof of vaccinations. Have ID information on your pet’s collar.
- Food and water for at least 3 - 7 days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener.
- Cat litter, litter box and scoop.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian.
- Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, pee pads, poop bags, bleach, plastic trash bags and grooming items.
INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN
- Involve children in disaster preparedness at home so they are aware of the need to prepare and know what is being done. As they are able, have children help plan and assemble kits and put them where they will be ready if needed. Involving children is the first step in helping them know what to do in an emergency.
- Ask children to help the household remember to keep the kits updated by rotating the emergency food and water or replacing it every 6 months and by replacing batteries as necessary.
- Ask children to think of items that they would like to include in a Disaster Supplies Kit, such as books or games or nonperishable food items.
- Involve children in preparing plans and disaster kits for pets and other animals.