Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
As recent weather events have shown, nearly every part of the country is vulnerable to storms and other catastrophes. Even here in New England, our weather can include hurricanes, tornados, floods, and blizzards. Most of these will result in the relatively minor inconvenience of lost electrical service for a few hours, however the potential always exists for a major storm that could leave us without all utilities for days and/or force us to evacuate our homes. If a major disaster occurs, you may need to survive on your own for a while. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity 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. You could get help in hours, or it might take days.
Thatís why we recommend that all homeowners have a Disaster Supplies Kit on hand. Hereís a list of items that your kit should contain. A good place to keep it is in an easily portable, waterproof container, such as the large plastic storage tubs available at most department stores or home improvement stores. You should check your kit every 6 months and use or replace the perishable items, such as water, foods, and medications. (You should also check your smoke detectors at the same time).
You should store at least a three day supply of water, with one gallon per person, per day.† For example, for a family of four:
†† ††† †
†† †4 people X 1 gallon per day X 3 days= 12 Gallons
The safest way to store water is to buy commercially bottled water at a grocery store and keep it sealed until you use it.† Since itís already treated to eliminate bacteria, it will keep longer without contamination.
You should store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water, yet are relatively compact and light to store.†
Some good choices are:
- 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†with special dietary needs†
- Instant coffee, tea bags
Always remember to pack a manual can opener, a can or more of sterno in case you want to heat the food, and a lighter to light the sterno.
Regardless of the weather, itís always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your home and/or car. Hereís the one recommended by FEMA:
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- 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 lubricant
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pair) Sunscreen
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Nonelectric can opener, utility knife
- Pliers, Hammer, Scissors
- Duct Tape
- Matches in a 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
These documents, or copies of them should be kept in a waterproof, easy to grab container.† Itís also a good idea to store them in zip lock bags.
- Homeownerís or Renterís insurance policy
- Auto Insurance Policy
- Property deeds and auto titles
- Stocks, Bonds
- Copy of Auto Registration(s)
- Bank account numbers, Credit card account numbers
- An inventory of household contents with pictures if possible
- Birth Certificates
- Childrenís immunization records
- Pet Immunization records, plus photos of your pets
- Photocopies of driverís license, social security card, credit cards
- Cash and Change, plus travelerís checks (remember, your ATM card and credit card will be useless in a wide spread power failure)
- Baby supplies, like diapers, formula, powdered milk, bottles.
- Prescription Medication, Diabetic Supplies
- Toilet Tissue
- Spare pair of eye glasses, or contact lenses
- Pet Food, plus an extra leash for dogs or cats
- Set up an arrangement in advance with friend or relative in another state for emergency lodging, in the event either of you is evacuated.
- If you have a well, itís still possible to flush the toilet without electricity. Fill your bathtub before a coming storm, and use a bucket of water to flush.
- However, if you have a well with ultraviolet water treatment, never run the water until power to the treatment system is restored.
- If you buy an emergency generator, make sure to have it professionally installed. An improperly installed generator can injure utility workers repairing nearby lines. Also, make sure the generator runs outside and away from the house to prevent exhaust fumes from entering.