Prepare for Natural Disasters
If a disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. You should have emergency kits for your home, office, school, and car. Here are some steps you can take to help your family stay safer and healthier during and after a disaster.
- Consider storing two weeks-worth of food supplies. You may be able to use many of the canned goods and dry mixes already in your cupboard.
- Store at least a 3-day supply of water for each member of your family - that means 1 gallon per person per day.
- Don't forget about pets; they'll need food and water too.
- Learn where your gas, electric, and water shut-off locations are and how to turn them off.
Pack an emergency supply kit. Here's what you'll need:
Food and Water
- Water - one gallon per person, per day
- Food - easy-to-make and won't spoil
- Manual can opener
- Battery powered, solar, or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/), if possible)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Extra batteries
Health and safety supplies
- First aid kit
- Medicine (7-day supply), other medical supplies, and paperwork about any serious or on-going medical condition
- Emergency blanket
- Soap, toothbrush, and other personal care items
You should also keep:
- Family and emergency contact information
- Multipurpose tool
- Copies of important documents such as insurance cards, immunization records, etc.
- Extra cash
- Map(s) of the area
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
If you have babies, children, pets, or someone with special medical needs in your family, you should add:
- Medical supplies (e.g., hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, or a cane)
- Baby supplies (e.g., bottles, formula, baby food, and diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (see expanded list below)
Keep it fresh and ready to use.
Once you've gathered your supplies, pack the items in easy-to-carry containers. Clearly label the containers, and store them where you can reach them easily. In a disaster situation, you may need to get your emergency supply kit quickly - whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Make sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine, and batteries throughout the year.
Involving children in getting ready is the first step in helping them know what to do in any emergency. There are many ways children can help.
- Ask them to think of items that they would like to include in an emergency supply kit, such as books or games and food that won't spoil.
- Children can help mark the dates on a calendar for checking emergency supplies and remind you to check the supplies. Remember to rotate or replace emergency food, water, medicine, and batteries as necessary.
- Children can also help prepare plans and disaster kits for family pets.
Disaster Supply Checklist for Pets
- Food and water for at least 3 days for each pet; bowls or bottles, and a manual can opener.
- Depending on the pet, you may need a litter box, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and/or household bleach.
- Medicines and medical records stored in a waterproof container.
- First aid kit with a pet first aid book.
- Sturdy leash, harness, and carrier to transport pet safely. A carrier should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for several hours.
- Pet toys and the pet's bed, if you can easily take it, to reduce stress.
- Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated, and to prove that they are yours.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.