Disasters strike without warning and being prepared at home will help to ensure that you and your family can make the best of a bad situation. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but in many cases, they will not be able to reach everyone right away. You need to be ready to take care of yourself and your family for up to three days.
Some emergencies can force you to evacuate from your neighborhood or confine you to your home. It is important that you know what to do if basic services–water, gas, electricity, or telephones–were cut off by utility company. Preparing in advance and working together as a team make it much easier to cope with an emergency.
It is important to keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of your family for at least three days. Assemble a Family Emergency Kit with items you may need in an emergency or evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as suitcases, duffle bags or covered storage containers.
Include at a minimum:
- Water, two gallons 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
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Family emergency contact information
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
Additional items to consider include:
- 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.
- Fire extinguisher
- Multipurpose tool
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Duct tape
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles or plastic milk jugs. Avoid using containers that will break, such as 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 two gallons of water per person per day (one gallon for drinking, one gallon 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, little preparation or cooking and little or no water. 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, granola bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
- Comfort/stress foods–cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
First Aid Kit
- Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Moistened towelettes
- Tongue blades (2)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricants
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pairs)
SUGGESTIONS AND REMINDERS
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Family Emergency 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-evaluate your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.