Stock Your Disaster Supply Kit

Red Cross Disaster Supply KitBeing prepared for a disaster is just as much mental work as it is physical. A mindset of preparedness is one that is less likely to panic, because obstacles have already been anticipated. However, it’s not enough to “think” your way to being Red Cross Ready – there are some significant actions you can take right now to “organize your disaster” and have that peace of mind.

The first big piece of “preparedness” is “Make a Kit.” Every family has its own unique needs in a time of crisis, but there are some constants that are recommended for every household. Your Kit should be stored someplace secure and accessible, and should provide for your household for a minimum of three days. You can buy a kit to get started, or just use this as a shopping list, adding any additional items that might pertain to you:

   • Water – can be scarce in the aftermath of a disaster. Store one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days – this can be used for drinking, food preparation and hygiene. (Four people = 12 gallons.)

   • Food – Three days of non-perishable, nutritious food that you don’t have to cook to prepare. (If you’re relying on canned items, don't forget a manual can opener.)

   • Medications – Extra prescription and over-the-counter medications. Keep a list of dosages, allergies, doctors' names, and phone numbers for nearby hospitals. A small pill organizer can pack a lot in a small space. Also keep an extra set of eye glasses, contact lenses, a cane, hearing aid batteries, or any other personal items you may need.

   • Portable Radio – Either battery-operated or hand-cranked, a radio can be your first link to information about where you can find additional assistance. Don't forget to include extra batteries.

   • First Aid Kit – Sometimes in a disaster, help is delayed. A first aid kit can help you tend to injuries until help arrives.

   • Personal Documents – You might have to leave your home for days or more – keep copies of necessary records like your drivers’ license, passport, birth certificate, and insurance policies in a waterproof container.

   • Contact Info – A list of family phone numbers and addresses as well as a copy of your out-of-area emergency contact card.

   • Map – A detailed map of the surrounding areas with highlighted evacuation routes. Road closures might block your first choice of route.

   • Money – Banks and ATMs may be closed. Keep small bills and change on hand to buy necessary supplies.

   • Clothing – Nothing extensive – think comfortable and protective. A set of sweats for each family member, sturdy shoes, and a raincoat can make the first days more comfortable.

   • Sanitary Supplies – Include extra toilet paper, feminine supplies, personal hygiene products, bleach, and any other personal products you may need.

   • Pet Supplies – Pets are part of the family too. Remember food, leashes, medicine, etc.

   • Tools – Keep an adjustable wrench in your preparedness kit to turn off your gas if necessary. Other tools may include a manual can opener, plastic sheeting, garbage bags with ties, and duct tape.

One thought on “Stock Your Disaster Supply Kit

  • November 7 2008 at 3:08 pm
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    Great post. I especially liked you reminder about pet supplies. All to often, pet owners take their animals for granted and just leave them to fend for themselves in disasters. It's not only irresponsible, but totally unfair to the pets as well.

    Pet Doctor's last blog post..Vet Pet Insurance

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