BUILD A KIT

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Your basic emergency kit should include:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets

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Children

  • Include a family picture and a favorite toy, game or book for each child in his/her Go-bag
  • Include your child’s emergency card and include information on reunification locations and out-of-area contact
  • Provide comfort food and treats for each child in your family disaster supplies kit
  • Keep a recent photo of your children in your Go-bag

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Seniors & Disabled

  • Set up a Personal Support network – Designate someone to check on you in an emergency and to help with evacuation or sheltering-in-place.
  • Personal Care Assistance – If you receive assistance from a home healthcare agency or in-home support provider, find out how the provider will respond in an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
  • For Persons using a wheelchair: Plan for how you will evacuate in an emergency and discuss it with your care providers. If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual wheelchair as a backup.
  • For Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired: Keep an extra collapsible cane by your bed. Attach a whistle to the cane; use it if you need to attract attention. Exercise caution when moving around after an earthquake; items may fall and block paths that are normally unobstructed.
  • For Persons who are Hearing Impaired: Keep extra batteries for your hearing aids with emergency supplies. Consider storing your hearing aids in a container attached to your nightstand or bedpost, so you can locate them quickly after a disaster.

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Pets

Make a disaster Go-bag for each of your pets, include the following:

  • Sturdy leashes and/or carriers to transport pets. Animal shelters may require owners to provide a pet carrier for each animal.
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Food and potable water, for at least one week. Bowls, cat litter and pan, plastic bags, can opener and pet toys. These items may not be immediately available in animal shelters.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, immunization records and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets.

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Food

When a disaster occurs, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks. Store enough emergency food to provide for your family for at least 3 days.

  • Store food items that are familiar, rather than buying special emergency food. Consider any dietary restrictions and preferences you may have.
  • Ideal foods are: Shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), low in salt, and do not require cooking (e.g. canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, canned soup or meats, juices and non-fat dry milk).
  • Mark a rotation date on any food container that does not already have an expiration date on the package.
  • Include baby food and formula or other diet items for infants or seniors.
  • Store the food in airtight, pest-resistant containers in a cool, dark place.
  • Most canned foods can safely be stored for at least 18 months. Low acid foods like meat products, fruits or vegetables will normally last at least 2 years. Use dry products, like boxed cereal, crackers, cookies, dried milk or dried fruit within six months.
  • After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days.

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Water

In a disaster, water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Store enough water for everyone in your family to last for at least 3 days. Store one gallon of water, per person, per day. This amount will be adequate for general drinking purposes. Three gallons per person per day will give you enough to cook and for limited personal hygiene. Do not forget to plan for your pets.

  • If you store tap water:
    • Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores.
    • Replace water at least once every six months.
  • If you buy commercially bottled “spring” or “drinking” water:
    • Keep water in its original container, and don’t re-store a bottle once it’s been opened.
    • Label bottles with their replacement date, and store in a cool, dark place.
    • Replace water at least once each year.
  • Treating water after the disaster:
    • If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater or the toilet reservoir tank (except if you use toilet tank cleaners.) You cannot drink swimming pool or spa water, but you can use it for flushing toilets or washing.
  • Treatment process:
    • Begin by straining any large particles of dirt by pouring the water through a couple of layers of paper towels or clean cloth.
    • Next, purify the water one of two ways:
      • Boil – bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 3-5 minutes. To improve the taste, pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add oxygen back.
      • Disinfect – If the water is clear, add 8 drops of bleach per gallon. If it is cloudy, add 16. Shake or stir, then let stand 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal.

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First Aid

In any emergency, you or a family member may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. Keep the following basic first aid supplies so you are prepared to help when someone is hurt.

  • Two pairs of disposable gloves
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • Scissors
  • Over-the-counter medicines such as Aspirin or other pain reliever, laxative, anti-diarrhea medication
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine, or asthma inhaler
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose monitoring equipment or blood pressure monitors

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Go-bag

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio – battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

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Phone

Plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster.

  • Long-distance phone lines often work before local phone lines, so identify an out-of-state contact and provide this person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Share this information with your family and friends locally.
  • Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster – even if phone lines are un-damaged, increased phone traffic can jam phone circuits.
  • Don’t count on your cell phone - increased traffic on cell phone networks can quickly overload wireless capacity. Record an outgoing message on your voicemail so that callers can be re-assured of your safety status.
  • Keep coins in your Go-bag. Payphones are more likely to work before other phone lines.
  • Cordless phones or phone systems require electricity, so make sure you have a backup phone that requires no electricity.
  • After an earthquake, check all your telephones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.

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