Would your family be prepared in the event of a natural disaster?

No one likes to think about living through a natural disaster or similar crisis, but this is definitely not a task to put off because it’s unpleasant to think about. Recent studies show that 65% of American households lack adequate plans and supplies for a disaster, and 41% of households with children do not know where their children’s schools would take them if forced to evacuate. Even if you live in an area where tornadoes, earthquakes, or floods are rare, sometimes much smaller or less predictable events can lead to extended power outages or a lack of running water.  Unfortunately, many disasters don’t come with advance warning.

In the middle of a crisis is not the time to gather the supplies your family needs. Critical supplies sell out of stores almost immediately when disaster strikes, including big-ticket items like generators. Depending on the size and magnitude of the disaster, it may be safest to keep everyone in the family at home for a few days and not venture out at all. Now is the time to plan for the worst. If you’re concerned about the cost of stockpiling survival supplies, remember that basics don’t have to be expensive. Non-perishable food staples like peanut butter, beans, and grains like rice and oats are nutritious and inexpensive. Start small and buy a few items every time you visit the grocery store. You can even rotate your stash to keep items fresh – if you’re planning a meal with beans, for example, use a can from your emergency stash and replace it with the fresh can you just picked up at the store. This will help cut down on food waste if you’re fortunate enough to go several years without facing a disaster. Every family should also have and discuss an emergency plan that includes escape routes, evacuation routes, and how to contact one another and regroup in the event of an emergency.

You can find this and much more information about emergency preparedness at www.ready.gov, which is also where we found the following list of emergency supplies to get your kit started. Consider packing your items into one or more backpacks that can be easily carried by various family members if you need to leave your home quickly.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

  • A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
  •  Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  •  Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  •  Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra
  • batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  •  First aid kit
  •  Whistle to signal for help
  •  Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in- place
  •  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  •  Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  •  Manual can opener for food
  •  Local maps
  •  Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional recommended items:

  •  Prescription medications and glasses
  •  Infant formula and diapers
  •  Pet food and extra water for your pet
  •  Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  •  Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information m www.ready.goveeping
  • Warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.

Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

  •  Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.
  •  Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

A home emergency plan and survival kit is something we all hope we’ll never have to use, but can’t afford not to have. If nothing else, a little planning and preparing can buy you a whole lot of peace of mind, and that’s worth every penny!

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