Are you prepared for a disaster? Most families are not, and that is why hurricanes and earthquakes bring so much lasting devastation. At DisasterPreparedness.org, we want you to be as prepared as possible for any disaster that comes your way. One of the best ways to prepare yourself and your family is to build a disaster preparation kit. Here are some tips to get you started.
What Should Your Kit Contain?
The key to an effective disaster preparation kit is having enough supplies to last 72 hours without food, water and adequate shelter. This is the bare minimum you will need to have, and most people will be able to get help after a disaster after 72 hours. Make sure you have nonperishable food, a gallon of water per person per day and basic toiletries available. You will also want:
- Battery powered radio
- Battery powered flashlight
- Extra batteries
- A first aid kit
- Tent, blanket or sleeping bag for shelter
- Face mask to help filter contaminates from the air
- Basic tools to shut off your utilities
- Maps of your local area
- Extra chargers for electronics, and battery or solar chargers to use if electricity is out
- Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
In addition, you will want to have copies of all important documents, contact information for someone you can reach outside of your town or community, medications for anyone who is on medication and supplies for babies or elderly individuals who might be living with you. If you have pets, some basic pet supplies, including a leash and crate, are helpful.
Where Should You Store It?
Many people fail to adequately plan for an emergency because they are not aware of how to best store a stash of supplies. The key to storing the kit is to find a place in your home where you can keep where it is out of the way but also accessible. Make sure that all family members know where it is and can access it, including small children. If you are incapacitated, you want to know that your children will be able to get to the food you have prepared.
Don’t forget to store some disaster supplies in your vehicle. While your entire kit won’t fit in your vehicle, stash some water, snacks, flashlights, a shovel and some first aid supplies in your car in case you are stranded in your vehicle.
You could, potentially, get stranded at work in a sudden emergency. Have supplies stored at work to prepare you for at least 24 hours, and store it in a “grab and go” case so you can take it on the road with you if you are evacuated.
Try to keep at least some of your supplies in an easy-to-grab kit that you can take in an evacuation. You might not need the entire three-days’-worth of food if you are evacuated, but you can grab your papers and toiletries. A sealed container is a great option that you can just grab and run with.
When Should You Build It?
Build your disaster relief kit now, before you have a chance to face an actual disaster. When a disaster is looming, you will find that the supplies you need are going to be hard to come by. Being prepared ahead of a disaster is the key to riding the storm without a serious issue.
A disaster could happen at any time, without notice. Make sure your family is prepared by having a plan and building a kit. Preparedness can mean the difference between devastation and survival in a serious disaster.