Make a Kit
Your household emergency kit should include the necessary supplies to sustain you and your family in your home for at least 3 days, maybe longer. Remember that it may take a significant amount of time for basic services (water, electricity, and telephones) to return to normal. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own.
While there are many things that might make you comfortable, think first about fresh water, good and clean air. Consider putting together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.
- Water: 1 gallon per person per day
- Food: Ready-to-eat, just-add-water, canned and dried foods that are easy to store and prepare
- Manual can opener
- First Aid kit
- Essential medications
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Portable Television or Radio (battery-operated or manual)
- Cash in small denominations
- A copy of important documents & phone numbers
- Unscented liquid household bleach for water purification
- Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, and soap
- Sturdy shoes
- Heavy gloves
- Warm clothes, a hat and rain gear
- A local map
- Prescription medicines
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Large plastic bags for waste and sanitation
- Special-need items for children and seniors or people with special needs
- Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets
Many potential terrorist attacks could send tiny microscopic “junk” into the air. Many of these materials can only hurt you if they get into your body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination. It’s smart to have something for each member of the family that covers their mouths and noses like filter masks, which are readily available in hardware stores. These masks are rated based on how small a particle they filter.
If you don’t have a mask, plan to use two or three layers of cotton t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. It is very important that the mask or other material fit your face snugly so that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask, not around it. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
Also include duct tape, and heavyweight garbage bags or plastic sheeting that can be used to seal windows and doors if you need to create a barrier between yourself and any potential contamination outside.
In an emergency a family member or you yourself may be injured. Having some basic supplies and knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Having a first aid kit can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination. Consider taking classes on first aid and CPR.
Things You Should Have
- Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Burn ointment to prevent infection.
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for upset stomach)
Keep enough food on hand to sustain you and your family for a minimum of 3 days. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and use little or no water. Watch your salt content, as salty foods make you drink more water. Foods should require very little preparation— try to avoid things that need water or cooking. Make sure it’s food your family will eat.
- Ready-to-eat canned foods: meats, fruits, vegetables, soup, juice, and non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High-energy foods: peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars and trail mix
- Small amounts of comfort foods: candy, sweetened cereals, potato chips, and cookies
- Dried foods
- Instant ready-to-eat meals
- Food for infants
Remember to include a manual can-opener and paper plates and plastic utensils in your emergency supplies.
If you need to leave from your home, it will be important that you are ready to go as quickly as possible. Some people find that having a Go Bag in an accessible place ensures that you and your family are prepared for whatever situation arises. Should you decide to prepare a Go Bag, here are some things to consider.
Go Bag Guidelines
- Each member of your household should have his or her own Go Bag
- Go Bags should be easy to carry and sturdy
- Go Bags should be stored in an easily accessible location
- Ideally, you should keep a Go Bag at your home, in your car, and at work
- Go Bags should be prepared for any time of year
- Go Bags should be updated every six months
Go Bag Item List
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Battery-operated AM/FM Radio
- Extra batteries (check the necessary types)
- Prescription medication for a week, along with copies of your prescriptions
- Small first aid kit
- Extra house and car keys
- A blanket
- Rain gear
- A hat
- Comfortable, sturdy shoes
- Warm clothes
- Extra pair of glasses and/or hearing aids
- Toilet paper
- Plastic garbage bags
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Feminine hygiene products
- A copy of your communications plan card
- A regional map
- Special needs items for members of your family, especially children, seniors, people with disabilities, and pets.
- Paper, pens, and tape – in case you need to leave a message somewhere
- Cash – preferably in small denominations
- Coins for pay phones
- Copies of important documents in a waterproof container (i.e. IDs, insurance information, proof of address, passports, etc.)
- A recent family photo for identification purposes - make sure everyone’s face can be seen clearly
During an emergency, the water supply may be compromised or become contaminated. It’s important to make sure you have enough water for everyone in your household to last at least 3 days.
In addition to property damage, water can cause electrocution when exposed to electrical wiring. Be sure to shut off your water when there is a severe leak in your building.
- Store 1 gallon of water per person per day in an easily-accessible, cool, dark place
- Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water
- If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary
- Rotate your water supply every 6 months
- Water should be stored in tightly sealed plastic containers labeled with the date they will expire (6 months after storage)
- Keep a small bottle of unscented liquid bleach for purifying water
If you have concerns about the safety of your water supply, you can:
- Boil water for at least 5 minutes at a rapid boil and let it cool before using
- Add 8 drops of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water and shake or stir. Let it stand for 30 minutes before using. Chlorine smell and taste is normal.
If you exhaust your water supply, you can use the water in your water heater by straining it through paper towels or clean cloth and treating it in one of the methods mentioned above.