Family Preparedness

Preparing for an Emergency or Disaster

You are never too young or too old to get prepared for an emergency or a disaster. By learning about severe weather, fire safety, and disaster preparedness, kids can help mom and dad get the family ready to deal with an emergency. Below is some information to help you prepare your family and your pets for an emergency.

Emergency Supply Kit

If an emergency happens, like a flood or tornado or major chemical spill, it can be hard or even impossible to get hold of the basics of life (like clean water and food). Protect your family by preparing an Emergency Supply Kit before an emergency happens! Below are some ideas of what to include in your family's kit.

A family's Emergency Supply Kit should include:
  • Clean drinking water* (1 gallon per person per day - plan for at least 3 day's worth of water)
  • At least three day's worth of food (make sure it's something that doesn't need to be in a refrigerator and won't easily spoil, like canned food)
  • A battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio (with extra batteries)
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust masks, plastic sheeting, and duct tape (to block contaminated air from entering your house)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
  • A wrench or pliers (to turn utilities off)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Local maps
Other things that might be included in an Emergency Kit:
  • Prescription medicines and glasses
  • Formula and diapers (if there is a baby in your family)
  • Important family documents in waterproof bags (like insurance papers and bank records)
  • Cash or travelers checks
  • First Aid books or other emergency reference materials
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Change of clothes for each person, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and an eye dropper (to disinfect water - see tip below)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches (in a waterproof container)
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic silverware, and paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for kids

Water Tips

Tip for disinfecting water: If you can't get hold of fresh or bottled drinking water and you don't have a way to boil water, you can disinfect water using regular bleach. Add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of household chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. Don't use special bleaches with scents or added cleaners or bleach that says it's color-safe! Stir the water well and then let it sit for 30 minutes before using it. Store it in a clean, covered container.