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Emergency Preparedness :: Disaster Supply Kit

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It is recommended that disaster supply kits be able to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately.

Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. Or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you.

Kit Location

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and vehicles.

At Home: Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water, and supplies for at least three days.Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

At Work: This kit should be in one backpack or container, and ready to “grab and go” in case you are evacuated from your workplace.Make sure you have food and water in the kit. Also, be sure to have comfortable walking shoes at your workplace in case an evacuation requires walking long distances.

In Your Car: In case you are strand-ed, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.This kit should contain food, water, first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies.

Water

How Much Water do I Need?

You should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.
Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:

    • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
    • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
    • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
    • A medical emergency might require additional water.

How Should I Store Water?

To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.

Observe the expiration or “use by” date.

Food

The following are things to consider when putting together your food supplies:

    • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.

Stock canned foods, dry mixes, and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation. You may already have many of these on hand. (Note: Be sure to include a manual can opener.) Use a permanent marker to date foods and replace items every six months. Pack foods in watertight bags or sturdy plastic containers.

    • Canned foods are a good choice. Buy ready-to-eat meats, fruits, and vegetables
    • Buy canned or boxed juices, milk, soup, and powdered milk
    • Peanut butter is a good source of protein
    • Crackers, granola bars, cereals, trail mix
    • Instant coffee and tea
    • Sugar, salt, pepper, other spices
    • Any other special dietary needs

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

The following items are recommended for inclusion in your basic disaster supplies kit:

    • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
    • Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
    • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
    • Flashlight and extra batteries.
    • First aid kit and manual.
    • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
    • Matches and waterproof container.
    • Whistle.
    • Extra clothing.
    • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
    • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
    • Cash and coins.
    • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
    • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
    • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

Maintaining Your Disaster Supplies Kit

Just as important as putting your supplies together is maintaining them so they are safe to use when needed. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:

    • Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool.
    • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
    • Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded.
    • Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
    • Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
    • Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
    • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family needs change.
    • Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack, or duffel bag.

Important Documents

Keep the following original documents in a safe deposit box if possible, and copies in a waterproof, fire-resistant portable container:

    • Will, 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 household goods, important telephone numbers
    • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
    • A list of prescriptions and where they were last filled

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