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If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency water supplies, food supplies and disaster supplies kit, you can provide for your entire family.
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long.
You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples on your cupboard shelves.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day for this.
Store at least a 3-day supply, though many experts recommend storing a 2-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
Don't forget to take your pets and service animals into account.
Assemble the following items to create kits for use at home, the office, at school and/or in a vehicle:
- Water – 3 gallons for each person who would use the kit and an additional 4 gallons per person or pet for use if you are confined to your home
- Food – a 3-day supply in the kit and at least an additional 4-day supply per person or pet for use at home
- You may want to consider stocking a 2-week supply of food and water in your home
- Items for infants – including formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk and medications not requiring refrigeration
- Items for seniors, disabled persons or anyone with serious allergies – including special foods, denture items, extra eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries, prescription and non-prescription medications that are regularly used, inhalers and other essential equipment.
- Kitchen accessories – a manual can opener; mess kits or disposable cups, plates and utensils; utility knife; sugar and salt; aluminum foil and plastic wrap; re-sealable plastic bags
- A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra, fresh batteries
- Several flashlights and extra, fresh batteries
- A first aid kit
- One complete change of clothing and footwear for each person — including sturdy work shoes or boots, raingear and other items adjusted for the season, such as hats and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust masks
- Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person
- Sanitation and hygiene items – shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm, sunscreen, contact lenses and supplies and any medications regularly used, toilet paper, towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation uses), medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach
- Other essential items – paper, pencil, needles, thread, small A-B-C-type fire extinguisher, medicine dropper, whistle, emergency preparedness manual
- Entertainment – including games and books, favorite dolls and stuffed animals for small children
- A map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers
- An extra set of keys and IDs – including keys for cars and any properties owned and copies of driver's licenses, passports and work identification badges
- Cash, coins and copies of credit cards
- Copies of medical prescriptions
- Matches in a waterproof container
- A small tent, compass and shovel
Pack the items in easy-to-carry containers, label the containers clearly and store them where they would be easily accessible. Duffle bags, backpacks, and covered trash receptacles are good candidates for containers. In a disaster situation, you may need access to your disaster supplies kit quickly – whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Following a disaster, having the right supplies can help your household endure home confinement or evacuation.
Make sure the needs of everyone who would use the kit are covered, including infants, seniors and pets. It's good to involve whoever is going to use the kit, including children, in assembling it.
Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist for Pets
- Food and water for at least 3 days for each pet, food and water bowls and a manual can opener
- Litter and litter box or newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach, depending on the pet
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container, a first aid kit and a pet first aid book
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets cannot escape. 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 hours. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth and other special items.
- 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.
Learn more about emergency preparedness and emergency supplies.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)
Published: March 20, 2011