In the event of a disaster, normal supplies that you use daily may be unavailable or inaccessible. It is suggested that emergency supply kits that will allow you to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours be prepared and stored in the most probable locations you and your family may be when the disaster occurs. You should have an emergency supply kit in your home, workplace, and vehicle. The composition of the survival kits will vary in size and contents depending on your individual needs and preferences.
To be considered complete, these kits should contain food and water, clothing and supplies, and medical and hygiene items to fit your individual needs.
A supply of one gallon per person per day for 72 hours should be included in your kit (a seven-day supply is even better). A person can last 30 days without food but less than a week without water. Store water in a sealed plastic container, mark the current date on the bottles, and replace after one year.
If your water supply is shut off and your stored emergency supplies have been exhausted, there are several alternative emergency sources. Shut off the incoming valve on your water heater and you can drain the water out for drinking. Melted ice cubes in your refrigerator and the water from unsalted canned vegetables is another good source.
If you are uncertain about the quality of the water, purify it before drinking. You can heat water until it boils or use commercial purification tablets to purify water. You can also use household liquid chlorine bleach if it is pure, unscented hypochlorite. To purify water use the following as a guide:
|If water is...||Water Quantity||Bleach Added|
After adding bleach, shake or stir water container and let stand thirty minutes before drinking.
When selecting food supplies consider the ease of preparation, ease of storage, shelf life, and personal preferences. The foods that you select should not require large amounts of water to cook. They should also be easily stored in your kit and last at least one year before they have to be replaced. Do not purchase salty foods; they will only increase your desire for water. Select foods that your family enjoys. Along with food, you will need an alternative way to prepare it. A camp stove with extra fuel, cans of sterno, or a barbecue all will work, but don’t forget the matches. Barbecues and camp stoves should never be operated indoors. You will also need various utensils, pots and pans, paper plates, paper or plastic cups, can opener, and eating and serving utensils. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and garbage bags also will be useful.
A complete change of clothing for each member of your family should be wrapped to remain dry and clean and put into your emergency supply kit. These should be heavy clothes that will protect you from injury and include boots or heavy shoes to protect your feet.
A flashlight with an extra bulb, a portable radio, and extra batteries should go in every emergency supply kit. A space blanket is a useful and inexpensive item that is excellent at retaining body heat. Sleeping bags and a tent can also be included. Small hand tools and a utility shutoff wrench are a necessity. Duct tape and zip-lock bags will be useful in many situations. Also include paper, pencils and money in your kit. If electricity is disrupted after a quake, the ATM machines will not operate. Don’t forget to include a 2-A:10-B:C fire extinguisher.
Include in your kit a bar of soap, liquid detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, toilet paper, and sanitary napkins (which can also be used for pressure dressings to stop bleeding, so pack more than you would normally need).
Remember to include any prescription medications that your family takes, along with a written list of prescriptions, allergies, and doctors. The most important item that you can include in your medical kit is a good first aid manual.