No matter what the disaster -- flood, wildfire, prolonged power outage -- you may need the same basic items. Consider creating and maintaining a kit for your home, vehicle and where you work. The items in your vehicle's kit should increase during the winter months (for example, adding warm blankets and a snow shovel).
Listed below are the suggested items, but make sure you customize your kit to meet your family's needs:
- Non-perishable food and water (enough for each person in your home for three days - 1 gallon of water per person per day. Be sure to check expiration dates and rotate your food and water supplies as needed)
- First Aid Kit
- NOAA weather radio (consider S.A.M.E. or Specific Area Message Encoding feature to receive alerts for your specified county only)
- Manual (non-electric) can opener
- Copies of important documents in a "zip-top" waterproof bag
- Extra medication and copies of prescriptions
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Whistle (we recommend a plastic whistle, not metal, that won't freeze to your lips when it's cold!)
- Blankets or additional warm clothing
- Extra cell-phone charger (for AC outlet and vehicle charging)
- Extra pair of eyeglasses/contact lens and solution
- “Comfort" items like deodorant, toothbrush/tooth paste, and baby wipes
- Dust filter mask/work goggles/leather-palmed work gloves
- Wrench, pliers, or multi-tool
- Duct tape
- Heavy garbage bags
- Entertainment like books or travel games
- Addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for family and emergency contacts
- Don't forget the needs of your pets! Consider extra leashes, food and water (and bowls), treats, toys, and copies of their vaccination records.
Make sure everyone in your home knows where your emergency kit is located and what it contains. Building an emergency kit does not need to be expensive. Use extra items you already have at home or purchase any missing pieces over time to reduce the financial impact.
Establishing a standard list of contacts is important to ensuring you keep in touch with your family in a disaster. Remember to include an out-of-state contact - think back to Hurricane Katrina when local calls could not be made, but out-of-state calls could be made.
Print and fill out these Family Communications Plan cards. Instruct everyone in your family to carry this with them everywhere.