Personal preparedness is critically important. During a time of widespread emergency or disaster, it can be up to three days before resources are readily available to residents again. In order to combat the limited access to vitally important resources, families should prepare a disaster supplies kit that would provide up to 72 hours of self-reliance.
When disaster strikes, you may need to evacuate your home or you might lose basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones. This is why it is imperative to assemble a disaster supplies kit well in advance of a potential emergency.
Fortunately, these kits are incredibly easy and relatively inexpensive to assemble. It may even be a surprise to know that most of these items are already sitting in your home. However, don’t rely on your household items to just get you through an emergency – some of these items may require a trip to the store.
According to Ready.gov, the following list of basic household items will ensure you and your family’s health and safety for 72 hours after an emergency or disaster occurs:
- Prescription medicines
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
- Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container (to help you organize your information, utilize the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit - EFFAK developed by Operation Hope, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and Citizen Corps)
- Emergency reference materials
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
In addition to assembling your disaster supplies kit, it is important to start a discussion about emergency preparedness with the members of your family to educate everyone about the necessary steps to prevent or avoid additional damage during a disaster. Having a plan in place and a clear communication strategy will ease your mind about the health and safety of your loved ones during an emergency.