Disaster preparedness is no longer just for areas prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. When an event such as the severe weather we recently experienced hits all bets are off. You may need to survive on your own after a disaster, meaning having enough of your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 3 days. Local emergency personnel, officials, and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could be there in hours, or it might take days. Basic services like electricity, gas, water, and phones may be cut off and you may need to evacuate to a local shelter. This is when your personal Disaster Supply Kit is important and invaluable. It’s basic, easy to assemble and prepare. Orange CERT offers you some guidance on putting one together and where to keep it.
What is the kit? It’s a collection of basic items that members of you and your family may need in the event of a disaster. Below is the basic list to assist you.
Three-day supply of non-perishable food, per person, per day.
Three-day supply of water-one gallon 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 (this will help to Alert your location to emergency personnel) if needed.
Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a manual 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.
Items for your pets, such as food, water, leash, medications.
Other items to meet your unique family needs.
Keep all your items in an air-tight, waterproof easy-to-carry container, such as a storage bin or rubber/plastic trash can, in an easy to reach designated location to have ready quickly. Make sure all family members know where it is kept.
Once you’ve assembled and placed your kit in that location, there is something you must remember to do. Check it periodically. Replace any damaged items or expired food items. Change stored water and food every 6 months. It’s a good idea to re-think your needs each year and update your kit as your family needs change.