Whether it’s a situation where the power goes off for a time, or “The Big One,” officials from the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency say every home should have a ready-and-waiting disaster kit.
According to both agencies, a disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
They say the kit needs to be prepared well in advance of an emergency.
“You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them,” a FEMA official said.
Prepare to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. 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.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional emergency supplies include a First Aid Kit. You may want to consider adding the following items:
Prescription medications and glasses
Infant formula and diapers
Pet food and extra water for your pet, or prescriptions for your pets
Cash or traveler’s checks and change
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
Emergency reference material such as a
first aid book.
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – when diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Many local groups, such as the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, offer classes in emergency preparedness. The department has training videos online at www.kitsapdem.org. They also have neighborhood program that teaches such things as turning off gas meters in an emergency.