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72-Hour Kit for your Home

It's never too early to prepare! Disasters seldom give warning and are often devastating to their victims.

Prepare yourself for a minimum of 3 days. Due to overwhelming need or no road access, emergency services may not be available for up to 72 hours after a major disaster.

Storing Emergency Supplies

  • Choose a location, such as a closet or "safety corner" in the garage, where it is cool and dark If you live in an apartment or have limited space, be innovative Other possible storage locations include under the bed, under stairways, or even in a large box or plastic tub that can be covered with a tablecloth and used as an end table.
  • Layer supplies as shown, and keep them together in a container such as a plastic garbage can with wheels Check every 6 months for food expiration dates, children's clothing sizes, etc.
  • Start with what you already have. If you're a camper or backpacker, you've got a head start Your tent, cook stove, and other gear can double as emergency supplies.

Being prepared is another form of insurance

FOOD:

  • Use canned foods for easy storage and long shelf life. Choose ready-to-eat canned meat, fruits and vegetables that your family likes [During a disaster is not the time to try new menu items - you're under enough stress!] Keep food fresh by checking dates and replacing it every year.
  • Also recommended are canned or dried juice mixes, powdered or canned milk, high energy food [peanut butter, jelly, crackers, unsalted nuts, and trail mix], cereals, and rice.
  • Store foods in single- or family meal-size packaging - unrefridgerated leftovers can lead to food poisoning.
  • Don't forget your pets! Store canned and dry pet food along with an extra collar and leash. Pets are not allowed in most shelters. If evacuated, you may have to leave them behind with extra food.
  • Add a manual can opener, cooking and eating utensils, and basic food seasonings.

WATER:

  • Store a three day supply of water for each family member. One gallon per person per day is recommended for drinking, cooking, and washing. Remember to include water for your pets. Write the date on the water containers and replace them every six months.
  • Learn how to remove the water from your hot water heater just in case you need it. Be sure to turn off the gas or electricity to the tank before draining off water for emergency use.
  • Purify water by boiling it for 5 to 10 minutes or by adding drops of household bleach containing 525% hypochlorite. The Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] recommends 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water. Water purification tablets or a filter system such as those designed for campers and backpackers also work.

OTHER ITEMS:

  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Battery-powered clock
  • Candles
  • Flashlights
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Money
  • List of insurance policy numbers
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Trash bags
  • Medications
  • Copy of prescriptions
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Hearing aid batteries
  • Cook stove with fuel
  • Heavy gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Sturdy shoes for each family member
  • Ax, shovel, broom
  • Pliers, wrench, pry bar
  • Household bleach
  • Map of area [for identifying evacuation routes or shelter locations]
  • Diapers, baby formula
  • Vaccination records
  • Hygiene products
  • Warm set of clothes for each family member

GET YOUR NEIGHBORS INVOLVED:

  • Working through your Neighborhood Watch Program or homeowners' association, arrange to share expensive equipment items such as chain saws, generators, and 4-wheel drive vehicles [If the Neighborhood Watch Program isn't active in your neighborhood, rally your neighbors to start one.]
  • Start a "buddy squad" to check on elderly or disabled neighbors during and after disasters such as extended power outages or winter storms. Also check on children who may be home alone.
  • Turn your organizing efforts into a neighborhood social event, such as a block party [Draw them in with food, then make your presentation!]