Creating a Family Disaster Kit
Your Family Disaster
After a disaster, local
officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach
everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would
your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?
Your family will cope best
by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling
a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or
search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can
endure an evacuation or home confinement.
To prepare your kit
Review the checklists in
Gather the supplies that
are listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home.
Place the supplies you'd
most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. These supplies
are listed with an asterisk (*).
Disasters happen anytime
and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond.
A highway spill of
hazardous material could mean instant evacuation.
A winter storm could
confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado or any other disaster
could cut off basic services--gas, water, electricity and telephones--for days.
Store water in plastic
containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will
decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active
person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments
and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers
and ill people will need more.
- Store one gallon of
water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food
- Keep at least a
three-day supply of water for each person in your household.
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. If you must heat food, pack a can
of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
*Include a selection of
the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
First Aid Kit
- Ready-to-eat canned
meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned juices, milk,
soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Staples--sugar, salt,
- High energy
foods--peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants,
elderly persons or persons on special diets
foods--cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee,
Assemble a first aid kit
for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:
- Sterile adhesive
bandages in assorted sizes
- 2-inch sterile gauze
- 4-inch sterile gauze
- Triangular bandages
- 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
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pair)
Contact your local American
Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.
- Aspirin or
nonaspirin pain reliever
- Antacid (for
- Syrup of Ipecac
(use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Activated charcoal
(use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
There are six basics you
should stock in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and
bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items. Keep the items that you
would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry
container--suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*). Possible containers
include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.
Tools and Supplies
- Mess kits, or paper
cups, plates and plastic utensils*
radio and extra batteries*
- Flashlight and extra
- Cash or traveler's
- Non-electric can
opener, utility knife*
- Fire extinguisher:
small canister, ABC type
- Tube tent
- Matches in a
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic storage
- Signal flare
- Paper, pencil
- Needles, thread
- Medicine dropper
- Shut-off wrench, to
turn off household gas and water
- Plastic sheeting
- Map of the area (for
Clothing and Bedding
- Toilet paper,
- Soap, liquid
- Feminine supplies*
- Personal hygiene
- Plastic garbage bags,
ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Plastic bucket with
- Household chlorine
*Include at least one
complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
- Sturdy shoes or work
- Hat and gloves
- Rain gear*
- Thermal underwear
- Blankets or sleeping
Remember family members
with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
- For Baby*
- Powdered milk
- For Adults*
- Heart and high
blood pressure medication
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses
- Extra eye glasses
- Important Family
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Will, insurance
policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social
security cards, immunization records
- Bank account
- Credit card
account numbers and companies
- Inventory of
valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records
(birth, marriage, death certificates)
SUGGESTIONS AND REMINDERS
- Store your kit in a
convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the
Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.
- Keep items in air-tight
- Change your stored
water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Rotate your stored food
every six months.
- Re-think your kit and
family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or
pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
CREATE A FAMILY DISASTER PLAN
To get started...
Contact your local
emergency management or civil defense office and your local American Red Cross
- Find out which
disasters are most likely to happen in your community.
- Ask how you would be
- Find out how to
prepare for each.
Meet with your family.
Plan how your family will
stay in contact if separated by disaster.
- Discuss the types of
disasters that could occur.
- Explain how to
prepare and respond.
- Discuss what to do if
advised to evacuate.
- Practice what you
- Pick two meeting
1) a location a safe
distance from your home in case of fire.
2) a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
- Choose an
out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to
Complete these steps.
- Post emergency
telephone numbers by every phone.
- Show responsible
family members how and when to shut off water, gas and electricity at main
- Install a smoke
detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test
monthly and change the batteries two times each year.
- Contact your local
fire department to learn about home fire hazards.
- Learn first aid and
CPR. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information and
Meet with your neighbors.
Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your
neighbors' skills (medical, technical). Consider how you could help neighbors
who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for
child care in case parents can't get home.
Remember to practice and
maintain your plan.
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