Make a Plan
Disasters often strike quickly and without warning. A disaster can force you to evacuate your home or office, separate you from your family and affect your access to every day necessities like food, water and electricity.
Making a plan for your family or business is essential to answering questions like:
- Where do I go if I can’t find my family members?
- What do we do if we do not have water or electricity?
- How quickly can my business re-open?
To answer these questions and create your own family or business emergency plan, click here.
Learn about and prepare for:
Build a Kit
A disaster kit makes resources necessary to keep you and your family or your business safe during and after a disaster easily accessible.
Your disaster kit supplies should be stored in an easy-to-carry container.
Here are some examples of great disaster kit containers:
- Large, hard-sided container (ex: plastic storage container)
- Camping backpack
- Duffle bag
Keep your kit stored in a convenient place that is known to all family members or employees. You should also keep a smaller version of this disaster kit in your car.
Your disaster kit should include enough supplies to last you and your family for a minimum of 3 days.
Store water in plastic containers such as empty soft drink bottles or milk jugs. Avoid containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. The average person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.
Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation). Store 1 1/2 to 2 gallons a day for the elderly. Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little to no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno (canned heat) or a camping stove. Select compact and lightweight foods.
The following items make good emergency rations:
- Emergency food bars (specially designed to provide nutrients and calories)
- Military MRE rations (no cooking required)
- Dehydrated camping meals (may require cooking)
- Canned or bagged tuna, chicken and ham. Can be made into sandwiches or cooked with pasta or rice side dishes.
- Granola bars and energy bars
- Dried fruit
- Individually wrapped snacks and puddings
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Hard candy, such as peppermints
- Just-add-water side dishes to mix with canned meat and vegetables
- Can opener
When purchasing food for your emergency kit or to stock up before a storm, remember to purchase items you would normally eat, so you will eat the leftovers after the storm.
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and for each car. A first aid kit should include:
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pairs)
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- Triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Sewing needle
- Moist towelettes
- Tongue depressors (2)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Non-prescription drugs
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Clothing and Bedding
- A set of clean bedding and extra set of clean clothes for you and your family members are very important during an evacuation because laundry facilities may not be available. You also may be away from your home for an extended period of time.
- Remember to dress for the weather and pack extra shoes and rain gear, like ponchos and umbrellas.
- Keep a supply of clean clothes and bedding as part of your emergency kit in an easy-to-carry suitcase or duffle bag.
Tools and Supplies
- Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils (mess kits)
- Emergency preparedness manual
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Non-electric can opener
- Plastic sheeting (10' by 10')
- Duct tape
- Plastic storage containers
- A corded telephone
- Household chlorine bleach
- One complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
- Rain gear
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Powdered milk
- Medications (2 weeks supply)
- Prescription drugs (2 weeks' supply)
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Extra eye glasses
- Games and books
Important Family Documents - Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Replace your stored food every six months.
- Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year.
- Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
Learning basic skills like first-aid and CPR can save lives. There are many local opportunities for you, your family members and employees to get this basic training.