Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, acts of terrorism and other unexpected emergencies can force you to evacuate your home at a moment’s notice—or confine you inside it. How would your family fare if you couldn’t get to a store for days or more? Prepare for a disaster before it strikes by assembling a supply kit to care for your family’s needs in an emergency.
Your kit should contain basic items your family would need to stay safe and comfortable during and after a disaster. Be sure to include the following:
Assembling your kit
- a three-day supply of water (one gallon a person per day)
- a three-day supply of nonperishable foods and a manual can opener
- any special foods or dietary items family members need
- a flashlight and extra batteries
- extra clothing and blankets
- matches and cooking equipment
- all prescription medicines
- medical supplies (diabetes testing and medication supplies, catheters, syringes, inhalers, nebulizers)
- over-the-counter medicines (pain reliever, antidiarrhea medicine, antacids, antihistamines, eyedrops)
- a cooler with ice or freezer packs to keep cold any drugs that must be refrigerated
- infants’ items like formula, diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers
- a first-aid kit (sterile gloves, bandages, cleansing agent or towelettes, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, eye-wash solution, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, cold packs)
- a thermometer
- hearing aid and batteries
- wheelchair batteries
- eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- toilet paper, feminine hygiene supplies
- denture needs
- copies of identification, credit cards, vital medical documents, such as insurance and Medicare cards, health records, proxies, prescriptions
Find an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or a plastic bin, in which to pack your kit. Seal all items in airtight plastic bags and store your kit in a place where it will be easy to grab and go if necessary. Plan for the needs of any disabled family members and give your power company a list of all power-dependent life support equipment your family uses. Develop a contingency plan that includes an alternate power source for the equipment, such as a portable generator or battery.
Re-evaluate your family’s needs and update supplies at least once a year. Check medications for expiration dates every six months and replace when necessary.