Disasters can affect any part of the United States at any time of the year, swiftly and without warning. Most people don’t think of a disaster until it is too late; then they suddenly realize how
unprepared they are for the massive changes it makes in their lives. Local officials can be overwhelmed and emergency response personnel may not be able to reach everyone who needs
help right away. Each type of disaster requires clean-up and recovery.
The period after a disaster is often very difficult for families, at times as devastating as the disaster itself. Families which are prepared ahead of time can reduce the fear, confusion and losses that come with disaster. They can be ready to evacuate their homes, know what to expect in public shelters and how to provide basic first aid.
One of the first steps toward preparedness is the creation of a family disaster supply kit. This will help families get through the first few days after a disaster. Public shelter after a disaster may not offer some of the basic necessities. The development of a kit will make a stay in a public shelter more comfortable,should it be necessary. Store the kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Store items in airtight bags or containers. Replenish the kit twice a year. Include six basic items: Water,Food,First Aid Kit, Tools and Supplies, Clothing and Bedding.
Store water in clean plastic containers such as thoroughly washed and rinsed soft drink bottles with tight fitting screw-on caps. Store 1 gallon per day per family member (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation/ sanitation). Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more. A 3-day supply of water should be stored for every family member. Replace water every 6 months.
Store at least a 3-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. Rotate these foods into the regular diet frequently to keep the supply fresh. In a disaster supply kit include: Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water) Staples such as sugar, salt, pepper High energy foods such as peanut butter,
jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix.
3. First Aid
2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6 of each), Hypoallergenic adhesive tape, Triangular bandages (3), 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each), Scissors, Tweezers, Needle, Moistened towelettes, Antiseptic, Thermometer Tongue blades (2), Sunscreen, Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant, Assorted sizes of safety pins, cleansing agent/soap, Latex gloves (2 pairs), Non-prescription drugs, Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, Anti-diarrhea medication, Antacid (for stomach upset), Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce
vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center), Laxative, Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
4. Tools and Supplies
Various tools and supplies may be needed for temporary repairs or
personal needs. Include these items in your disaster supply kit: Battery operated radio and extra batteries flashlight and extra batteries, non-electric can opener, utility knife, map of the area (for locating shelters), cash or traveler’s checks, change, fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type, tube tent, pliers, Tape, Compass, Matches in waterproof container, Aluminum foil, Plastic storage containers, Signal flare Paper, pencil, Needles, thread, Medicine dropper, Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water, Whistle, Plastic sheeting, Mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, Emergency preparedness manual, Sanitation, Toilet paper, Soap, liquid detergent, Feminine hygiene supplies, Personal hygiene items, Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses), Plastic bucket with tight lid, Disinfectant, Household chlorine bleach.
5. Clothing and Bedding
Your disaster supply kit should include at least one complete change
of clothing and footwear per person. Items to include are:
Sturdy shoes or work boots
Rain gear Blankets or sleeping bags
Hat and gloves
6. Special Items
Family members may have special needs. Other items you may add to your kit include:
Formula, Diapers, Bottles, Powdered milk, Medications,
Heart and high blood pressure medication, Insulin, Prescription drugs, Denture needs, Contact
lenses and supplies, Extra pair of eye glasses, Games and books.
Important Family Documents:
Keep these in a waterproof, portable container. Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds, Passports, social security cards, immunization records, Bank account numbers,
Credit card account numbers and companies,Inventory of valuable goods, important telephone numbers, Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)