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(Published for Y2K)
Disasters happen anytime and
anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway
spill or hazardous material could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your
family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other disaster could cut water,
electricity, and telephones-for days.
After a disaster, local officials
and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You
could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with
the emergency until help arrives?
Your family will cope best by
preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster
Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But
if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home
Prepare Your Kit
- Review the checklist below.
- Gather the supplies that are
listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home.
- Place the supplies you'd most
likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. These supplies are listed
with an asterisk (*).
- There are six basics you should
stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and
emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need
during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container--suggested items are marked with an
Possible Containers Include-
- Store water in plastic containers
such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as
milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active 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.
- Keep at least a three-day supply
of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household
for food preparation/sanitation).*
- 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 of sterno. Select food
items that are compact and lightweight. *Include a selection of thee following foods in
your Disaster Supplies Kit:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits,
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your
home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain
- 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)
Tools and Supplies
Clothing and Bedding
- Remember family members with
special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons
Important Family Documents
- Keep these records in a
waterproof, portable container:
- Will, insurance policies,
contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security cards,
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and
- Inventory of valuable household
goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage,
- Store your kit in a convenient
place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in
the trunk of your car.
- 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.
General Disaster Preparedness
- "Your Family Disaster Plan"
- "Your Family Disaster
Supplies Kit" (ARC 4463)
General Disaster Preparedness
Materials for Children
- "Disaster Preparedness
Coloring Book" (ARC 2200, English, or ARC 2200S, Spanish) for children ages 3-10.
- "Adventures of the Disaster
Dudes" (ARC 5024) video and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in
To get copies of American Red
Cross Community Disaster Education materials, contact your local Red Cross chapter.
© Copyright 1998,
The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.
___ Stock disaster supplies to
last several days to a week for yourself and those who live with you. This includes having
nonperishable foods, stored water, and an ample supply of prescription and nonprescription
medications that you regularly use. See Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit for suggestions.
___ As you would in preparation
for a storm of any kind, have some extra cash on hand in case electronic transactions
involving ATM cards, credit cards, and the like cannot be processed. Plan to keep cash in
a safe place, and withdraw money from your bank in small amounts.
___ Similar to preparing for a winter storm, it is suggested that you keep your automobile
gas tank above half full.
___ In case the power fails, plan
to use alternative cooking devices in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Don't
use open flames or charcoal grills indoors.
___ Have extra blankets, coats,
hats, and gloves to keep warm. Please do not plan to use gas-fueled appliances, like an
oven, as an alternative heating source. The same goes for wood-burning or liquid-fueled
heating devices that are not designed to be used in a residential structure. Camp stoves
and heaters should only be used out of doors in a well-ventilated area. If you do purchase
an alternative heating device, make sure it is approved for use indoors and is listed with
the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
___ Have plenty of flashlights
and extra batteries on hand. Don't use candles for emergency lighting.
___ Examine your smoke alarms
now. If you have smoke alarms that are hard-wired into your home's electrical system (most
newer ones are), check to see if they have battery back-ups. Every fall, replace all
batteries in all smoke alarms as a general fire safety precaution.
___ Be prepared to relocate to a
shelter for warmth and protection during a prolonged power outage or if for any other
reason local officials request or require that you leave your home. Listen to a
battery-operated radio or television for information about where shelters will be
___ If you plan to use a portable
generator, connect what you want to power directly to the generator; do not connect the
generator to your home's electrical system. Also, be sure to keep a generator in a
well-ventilated area_either outside or in a garage, keeping the door open. Don't put a
generator in your basement or anywhere inside your home.
___ Check with the emergency
services providers in your community to see if there is more information available about
how your community is preparing for any potential problems. Be an advocate and support
efforts by your local police, fire, and emergency management officials to ensure that
their systems will be able to operate at all times.
© Copyright 1998, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.
Laser color copies are available at Minuteman Press (Boulevard & Franklin, Hasbrouck