In the event of a home emergency or natural disaster, what will your family need to survive for a day? For multiple days? For a week? Now, assuming you have all of those items in your house, how long do you think it would take to go through the house and gather them up? Unfortunately, in an emergency like severe weather...you might not have that much time, which is why a Disaster Supply Kit is critical for Family Emergency Preparedness. Here are the absolute basics every disaster supply kit should contain.
- Light Sources: The potential for power loss during a natural disaster is almost certain. Having multiple, water-proof flashlights and lanterns in your kit during emergencies will prove extremely useful. Candles will come in handy if your batteries lose power.
- Power: A good supply of batteries to power not only your flashlights and radio, but also spare batteries for cell phones are a great idea.
- Water: Drinking water supplies often become contaminated from flooding or other natural disasters. Stockpile at least 1 gallon of water per person daily for 3-7 days in your home. In the event that you need to leave your home, take as much as you can carry along with water clarification tablets.
- Food: Plan on having at least 3-7 days of non-perishable food in your disaster supply kit. These food items should be canned or packaged in sealed, water-proof containers. If you have children, your kit will also need 3-7 days worth of baby food or formula as well as powdered milk and any other age-specific items. Don't forget the snacks to help keep morale up and the tools you'll need to open and cook your food items like can openers, portable propane stoves, etc.
- Fire: Without shelter, the risk for hypothermia dramatically increases even if the temperature is well above freezing. Pack water-proof matches or water proof lighters to start fires for warmth and cooking.
- Tool Kit: Minor repairs are always a possiblity. Having a small, portable tool kit with a few screwdrivers, a hammer, wrenches, pliers, etc. will prove indispensible.
- Clothing and blankets: Include multi-season, layerable clothing for each person and pack in a waterproof bag along with sturdy shoes and rain gear. Blankets have multiple uses for shelter, warmth, and even transport of materials so pack a bunch.
- Prescription Drugs: Pack at least a 1-2 week supply of prescription drugs, antibiotics, and pain medicine. Even once a natural disaster has passed, it could be days before businesses like pharmacies are able to reopen.
- First Aid Kit: The ability to sterilize cuts to avoid infection, bandage major wounds, make splints, and other basic first aid procedures will be much easier with the appropriate materials. First responders can get cut off from survivors for days after a disaster and you may need to care for your family before you're rescued.
- Cash: It doesn't have to be much, but with the potential for massive power outages after a storm, stores may not have the ability to accept credit or debit cards and ATM machines may be inoperable.
- A Whistle: Your family's focus after a disaster should be safety, survival, and rescue. Having a whistle or other signaling device will help you get the attention of rescue teams who may be a great distance from you. Don't count on being able to yell for help.
Don't forget to check and replenish your disaster supply kit every year. Store it in a dry, safe, and easily accessible place. Be sure that every member of your family knows its location and that a specific member of your family has the responsiblity to grab it in case of a home emergency that requires immediate evacuation.
Would you be able to remember all of your belongings after a total loss? Download our Free Home Inventory Checklist to get it all on paper and store a copy with your disaster supply kit.
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