You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days.
Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. Or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you need. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that members of a household may need in the event of a disaster.
There are six basics you should stock in your home:
Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.
How Much Water do I Need?
You should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:
How Should I Store Water?
To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.Observe the expiration or “use by” date.
If You are Preparing Your Own Containers of Water
It is recommended you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage. Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Follow directions below on filling the container with water.
If you choose to use your own storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles – not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers, because they can break and are heavy.
If storing water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Filling Water Containers
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water.Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it. Store in a cool, dark place.Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can ofsterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.*Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:Note: Be sure to include a manual can opener.
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:
Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies
Clothing and Bedding
If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat.*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
Kit Storage Locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car. This kit should include:
Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.
All information above is from FEMA's website under disaster and emergency preparedness.
For more information and resources on Building an Emergency Kit, please visit the web sites below.
Ready Gov - Emergency Kit Checklist
American Red Cross
American Red Cross - Get a Kit
American Red Cross - Prepare your Family and Home