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Assembling Your Disaster Kit

When assembling a disaster kit in preparation for storms or emergencies, it is important to consider all eventualities. Make plans now for food, medicine, money and essentials so that you wonít be caught short in an emergency.
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Donít be caught unprepared when storms and emergencies arise. Keep necessary items on hand in a disaster preparedness kit. Label items with the date purchased and expiration date so they can be replaced when necessary.

What To Plan For
Keep enough supplies at home for at least three days. Have a three-day supply of food and water on hand - plan for one gallon of water per person per day and food that won't spoil. Don't forget a can opener (not an electric one) and emergency tools including a fire extinguisher, battery powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of batteries.

Disaster Supply Checklist
Be sure to gather the following items to ensure your family's basic comfort and well-being in case of evacuation;
  • Cash - Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
  • Water - at least one gallon per person for three to seven days.
  • Food - at least enough for three to seven days, including: Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, food for infants or the elderly, snack food, non-electric can opener, vitamins, paper plates, plastic utensils.
  • Radio - battery powered and NOAA weather radio.
  • Blankets, pillows etc.
  • Clothing - seasonal, rain gear/ sturdy shoes.
  • First Aid Kit - medicines, prescription drugs.
  • Special items - for babies and the elderly.
  • Toiletries - hygene items, moisture wipes.
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Keys.
  • Toys, books, games.
  • Store important documents in a waterproof container: insurance papers, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards.
  • Tools.
  • Vehicle with full tank of gas.
  • Pet care items: Proper identification, immunization records, ample food and water, medicine, a carrier or cage, leash.

†Keep Your Kit Fresh
Remember to replace stored food and water every six months. Also keep a supply of fresh batteries on hand. Remember to keep your most important up-to-date family papers in a fire and water proof container. These should include Social Security cards, deeds or mortgages, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, stocks, bonds, wills and recent tax returns.

The Importance of Water
Stocking an emergency water supply should be one of your top priorities. During an emergency drinking water should not be rationed, that's why it's critical to have enough water on hand for yourself and your family.

While individual needs will vary depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate, a normally active person needs at least two quarts of drinking water daily. Children, nursing mothers, and people who are ill need more water. Very hot temperatures can also double the amount of water needed.

Because you will also need water for sanitary purposes, and possibly for cooking, you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day.

When storing water, use thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass, or enamel-lined containers. Don't use containers that can break, such as glass bottles. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Plastic containers, like soda bottles, are best.

Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.

It is important to change stored water every six months.

Text by Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH)
© 2005 Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.

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