Disaster Supplies Kit
There are 6 basics you should stock in disaster kit:
- First aid
- Clothing and bedding
- Special items
Keep the items you will most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container such as a large, covered trash container, camping backpack or duffel bag. Keep a smaller version of the disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
You should store 1 gallon of water per person per day, plus water for pets.
- Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers.
- Never use a container that has held toxic substances.
- Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums.
- Seal water containers tightly, label and store them in a cool, dark place.
- Adding oxygen by pouring water back and forth between 2 clean containers will improve the taste of stored water.
- Replace the water every 6 months.
Emergency Sources of Water
In the home:
- Melt ice cubes.
- Use water from the toilet tank (not the bowl) and water pipes.
- Hot water tank:
- Turn off the power that heats it, and let the tank cool. Then place a container underneath and open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Don't turn the tank on again until water services are restored.
- Any vegetables, fruit, pop or juice contain water. Your body doesn't care where the liquid comes from.
- Swimming pool water may be used for bathing and flushing toilets.
- Water beds:
- Avoid water from water beds as a source for drinking water. Pesticides are in the plastic casing of the bed and chemicals have probably been added to the water to prevent the growth of algae, fungi, and bacteria. The water is safe only for hand-washing and laundering.
Outside the home (can be used after it is purified):
- Coiled garden hoses
- Rain water
- Spring water
Water that is clear and pure in appearance can be highly contaminated with organisms that can make you sick. Under emergency or disaster conditions, all water sources should be treated as though unsafe.
While the storage of water is fairly simple and straight forward, water purification is a bit more complex. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best method is a combination of methods.
Boiling and disinfection will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Distillation will remove microbes that resist boiling and disinfection plus heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or a clean cloth.
- Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3 to 5 minutes, keeping in mind some water will evaporate.
- Let the water cool before drinking.
- Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between 2 clean containers.
- You can use household bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household bleach that contains 5.25 % sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
- The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 % sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
- Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed water will not include salt and other impurities.
- To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
Store at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food for each person. Select foods that require no refrigeration, cooking or preparation. Select food items that are compact and lightweight and rotate the food supply every 6 months.
- High energy foods - peanut butter, nuts, trail mix, etc.
- Juices - canned, powdered, or crystallized
- Milk - powdered or canned
- Ready to eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Smoked or dried meats such as beef jerky
- Soups - bouillon cubes or dried soups in a cup
- Staples - sugar, salt, pepper
- Stress foods - sugar cookies, hard candy
Food Safety in a Power Outage
Use food that spoils rapidly first. Most food borne diseases are caused by bacteria in raw or undercooked foods of animal origin such as meat, milk, eggs, fish or shellfish. Proper storage and cooking of these foods can help prevent illness. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve cold air or keep cold food cold with ice, dry ice or snow. A full freezer can keep foods frozen for about 48 hours if the door is kept closed.
It is most important to keep meat, seafood and dairy products cold. If food is cold to touch, it is probably safe to keep, use or refreeze. Discard food you would normally refrigerate if it is not cold to the touch, or if it shows obvious signs of spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out!
You should have 2 first aid kits - 1 for your home and the other for your car. The kit should include:
- 2 and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each)
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (8 to 12)
- 3-inch sterile gauze pads (8 to 12)
- Antiseptic spray
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Bar of soap
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Latex gloves
- Moistened towelettes (8 to 10 packages)
- Safety razor blade
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Tongue blades and wooden applicator sticks
- Triangular bandages (3)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Include at least 1 complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Hat and gloves
- Rain gear
- Sturdy shoes or work boots
- Thermal underwear
- Aluminum foil
- Battery operated radio and extra batteries
- Cash or travelers checks, change
- Dust mask and work gloves
- Family emergency preparedness plan
- Fire extinguisher, small canister, ABC type
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Medicine dropper
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Needles, thread
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Paper, pencil
- Plastic sheeting
- Plastic storage containers
- Shut-off wrench for gas and water
- Signal flare
- Tube tent
Remember family members with special needs such as infants, elderly, or disabled individuals.
- Feminine supplies
- Household chlorine bleach
- Personal hygiene items
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Plastic garbage bags, ties
- Small shovel, to dig expedient latrine
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Toilet paper, towelettes
- Powdered milk
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Denture needs
- Entertainment - Games for children; books for adults
- Extra eye glasses
- Heart and high blood pressure medications
- Prescription drugs
Important Family Documents
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds