Preparing for Emergencies

Being prepared is an individual as well as organizational responsibility. Disasters can strike at any given time anywhere and, depending on the incident, it may take hours or days until first responders reach you. Therefore, it is critical to acquire knowledge, supplies and skills ahead of time so you can help yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your colleagues before professional help arrives.

For more preparedness tips, visit the American Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Make a Plan

Planning for natural, technological or man-made disasters is not just for institutions and businesses; it’s just as important for families and households, in order to ensure everyone is prepared when an emergency occurs. Use this template to prepare your household and its members. Once completed, discuss the plan, and practice the plan. Elements to consider when creating your Family/Household Disaster Plan:

  • Out-of-state contact
  • Reunification area(s)
  • Alternate routes to and from work/home
  • Pet preparedness

Build a Kit

It is recommended that everyone acquire 3 emergency kits: one for home, one for the car, and one for work. Kits containing all the essential emergency supplies can be bought online or in stores. However, it is important to customize each kit according to you and your household’s needs. The following is a suggested list of items for your home Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Basic Emergency Kit Supplies:

  • Water - store one gallon of water per person per day - keep at least a three to ten-day supply of water for each individual in your household. Change your stored water supply every six months, so it stays fresh.
  • Food - store a three to ten day supply of non-perishable food. Rotate your stored foods every six months. Select foods that require no refrigeration or preparation (e.g. ready to eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables), food items that are familiar to your children, comfort/stress foods (e.g. cookies, hard candy), and high energy foods (e.g. peanut butter, crackers, granola bars). Don’t forget to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.
  • First Aid Kit - include several sizes of bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, burn cream, topical ointments, etc. Add any prescription medication, contacts and spare eyeglasses.

Additional Supplies to Include:

  • Battery powered flashlights, radios - can also be solar and/or hand crank powered, they can also have USB cable to help power mobile phones and other items include extra batteries
  • Jacket, clothes, gloves, and extra pairs of shoes for each family member
  • Blankets and sleeping bags - thin, metallic fiber sheet to wrap yourselves and keep warm
  • Small tool kit containing non-spark wrench to shut off gas and water, pocket knife and scissors
  • Small mirror and whistle - for signaling help
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items - toilet paper, moist towels, sanitary wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, toothbrushes, large plastic bags
  • Cash ($1, $5 paper money, coins) –no large bills
  • Documents – proof of identity (birth certificate, passport, or driver’s license), travel/visa documents, insurance documents, medical documents, lists of contact phone numbers. Keep all hard copies in a waterproof envelope or bag or place documents on a flash drive
  • Special items - remember family members with special needs, such as infants, elderly or disabled persons
  • Entertainment pack - family photos, notebooks, coloring books/crayons, playing cards, puzzle books, etc. No electronics unless you have the extra batteries available
  • Pet supplies