Preparing An Emergency Disaster Kit
What is an Emergency Disaster Kit
Serious disasters are inevitable and seemingly happen in a blink of an eye. That is why preparation is so important. It is important for Ohio residents to prepare in advance for any disaster that may occur. In the event of an emergency (i.e: natural disaster, power outage, major storms, etc.), you and the members of your household may need to rely on an emergency disaster kit to get you through the emergency.
Disaster Kit– a collection of basic items and survival gear that you and your household may need in the event of an emergency.
It is important to assemble your kit prior to an emergency. Set aside some time a couple of times each year to either gather supplies for a new emergency kit or replenish an existing kit. In the event of an emergency, you will need to react in a moment’s notice. You will not have the time to search for or shop for the supplies. Not to mention all the people you may have to fight through at the store for that last pack of batteries.
During an emergency disaster, you and your family may need to survive on your own for an extended period of time while the authorities get everything up and running again. You should take this into consideration when building your emergency disaster kit. You should consider building a kit with enough supplies to last you at least three days on your own. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You might be helped in hours, or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days, weeks or potentially longer. Your emergency supply kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
Building a Basic Emergency Disaster Kit
Emergency disaster kits should be fully stocked and readily accessible at any given moment. During an emergency event, you will need to react quickly. Kits should be portable and ready to go at all times in case of an emergency evacuation. A basic emergency disaster kit should include some of the following:
- Water— Ideally, stock up at least one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food— Pack at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Flashlight— Battery-powered or solar-powered flashlight(s) with extra batteries
- Extra batteries— Keep a supply of a variety of batteries for all your battery-powered items
- First aid kit— Check that it is fully stocked
- Whistle— You and your family might need it to signal for help
- Dust mask— Depending on the disaster, masks will help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting— And duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Personal Sanitation— Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, etc.
- Wrench— Or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener— For food, if kit contains canned foods
- Local maps (hard copies)— You might have limited GPS access in the event of an outage
- Cell phone— With chargers, power inverter, solar charger or other power source for charging
- Radio— You and your family will need to stay updated throughout the emergency event, keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Additional Supplies to Consider:
- Prescription medications
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food & extra water for your pet(s)– consider putting together a pet-specific emergency kit designated for your fur babies
- Important documents– copies of insurance policies, identification, bank account records, etc. Keep documents in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash and/or travelers checks and change
- Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person– consider additional bedding and warm clothing for colder months and/or if you live in colder climates
- Complete change of clothes (long sleeve shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes)– consider additional clothing during the colder months and/or if you live in colder climates
- Rain gear
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Fire extinguisher
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits– include paper cups, plates, plastic utensils
- Paper towels– and other paper products
- Pencil and paper
- Signal flare
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Make sure that your emergency disaster kit is ALWAYS readily accessible and easy to transport in case of an emergency evacuation. Set aside time to review the contents of the kit with all members of the household. It is important that every household member knows where the emergency kit is stored. It is important to check your kits a few times a year and immediately following an emergency event. If supplies are low and/or if any of the items have been damaged, replenish and/or replace the supplies to prepare for the next emergency event.
When preparing for emergencies, FEMA stresses the following 3 key things, “[…] prepare an emergency disaster kit, develop a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.” Take the time to review all emergency plans and types of emergencies with all members of the household a couple of times a year so you are ready to react in the event of an emergency. Make sure that every member of the household knows where to locate the emergency disaster supplies kit.
Emergency events are exactly that– an emergency. That means it is inevitable, unplanned and out of our control. All we can do it try our best to properly prepare in advance. We should make every effort to build emergency kits, develop emergency plans and educate ourselves on the types of emergencies that are possible. This way, when disaster strikes, you are your family will be ready to react.