Whether it’s earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, or brush fire, we’re all encouraged to be prepared. And what better way to ensure your family’s wellbeing than to have the emergency supplies you need always at hand? When people feel prepared, they cope with emergencies better. So make it a family project to assemble what you need.
Before disaster strikes
Although you can’t always know in advance when a particular disaster will strike, seasonal or regional patterns can often tell you what to expect. Be sure to have on hand the supplies your family will need.
Water: You should store at least one gallon of water per person per day, for a minimum of three days. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. Other needs include washing, cooking and sanitation. Children, nursing mothers, and those who are ill need more water. High temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
To be prepared with the safest emergency supply, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and don’t open it until you need it. Store the containers in a cool, dark place, and rotate them every six months.
Food: Include a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person, avoiding items 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 don’t require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation.
Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will babies, toddlers and elderly people. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.
Other Emergency Supplies: Include these items in your emergency kit.
•Emergency Sanitation Supplies
•Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener
•Shovel and other useful tools
•Household liquid bleach to treat drinking water
•Money and matches in a waterproof container
•Gas and Water Shut off Tools
•First aid kit and manual
•Photocopies of credit and identification cards
•Special needs items, such as 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
Clothing: If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth since you may be without heat for a time. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:
•Jacket or coat
•Long sleeve shirt
•Hat, mittens, and scarf
•Sleeping bag or warm blanket
Storage: 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 cool dry place.
•Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend shelf life.
•Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded.
•Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the storage date 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.
Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your emergency supply kits now. Then, if things go wrong, you’ll be prepared.