When disaster strikes it usually arrives with little or no warning and the difference between survival and death can come down to simply being prepared. Arguably the most important thing you can do to prepare you and your family is to create an emergency supply kit with the essentials needed to survive.
Disasters – natural or manmade – are not something we like to think about but they do occur.
Mother Nature can bring her wrath in the deadly form of earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. She also can shut down entire cities with snowstorms that while not as dangerous, still need to be prepared for. As we learned tragically on September 11, 2001, man himself can cause a disaster and those threats have not gone away.
No matter the cause of a disaster, you need to be prepared to survive without outside help for at least three days. You cannot rely on first responders being able to assist you right away, particularly with a large scale event.
Every family should have an emergency supply kit to help them through a disaster. The list below provides a starting point for you to create your own.
- Related: Natural Disasters 101 – Information resources
Basic emergency supplies – All kits should have these items
- Water – One gallon per person per day with enough to last three to seven days.
- Food – Enough non-perishable foods to last at least three to seven days.
- A battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio with an adequate supply of batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Cash and change
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Garbage bags
- Moist towelettes, toilet paper and other personal hygiene items
- Hand tools including a wrench capable of turning off utility supplies
- Can opener
- Cellular phone with batteries and chargers
Other emergency supplies – Items that should be considered to include
- Infant formula, bottles and diapers
- Extra clothing for all members of the family appropriate for the season and climate
- Hard soled shoes
- Blankets and or sleeping bags
- Copies of important documents including insurance policies, banking information, driver’s licenses, passports, next of kin contact information, will, etc
- Food and water for pets
- Fire extinguisher
- Items to occupy children such as games and books
- Paper and pens / pencils
- Paper plates, plastic utensils, cups
- Pain reliever
- Signal flares / flare gun
- Two way radios and spare batteries
- Extra keys to home, vehicles
- Generator and / or power inverter
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