Build a Kit

Build a Kit

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location.  Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.

Your basic emergency kit should include:
  • Water - one gallon per person per day
  • Food - ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member.
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with functional needs.
  • Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly.  Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio - battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
Any special-needs items for children, seniors and people with functional needs. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

Children

Children

Plan:

  • Include your children in family discussions and planning for emergency safety.
  • Teach your children their basic personal information so they can identify themselves and get help if they become separated from a parent or guardian.
  • Prepare an emergency card with information for each child, including his/her full name, address, phone number, and parent’s work number and out of state contact.
  • Know the policies of the school or daycare center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if you are unable to get to them.
  • Regularly update your child’s school with current emergency contact information and persons authorized to pick up your child from school.
  • Make sure each child knows the family’s alternate meeting sites if you are separated in a disaster and cannot return to your home.
  • Make sure each child knows how to reach your family’s out-of-state contact person.
  • Teach children to dial their home telephone number and Emergency 9-1-1.
  • Teach children what gas smells like and advise them to tell an adult if they smell gas after an emergency.
  • Warn children never to touch wires on poles or lying on the ground.
  • Role-play with children to help them remain calm in emergencies and to practice basic emergency responses such as evacuation routes, Drop, Cover & Hold and Stop, Drop & Roll.
  • Role-play with children as to what they should do if a parent is suddenly sick or injured.
  • Role-play with children on what to say when calling Emergency 9-1-1.
  • Include a family picture and a favorite toy, game or book for each child in his/her Go-bag.
  • Include your child’s emergency card and include information on reunification locations and out-of-area contact.
  • Provide comfort food and treats for each child in your family disaster supplies kit.
  • Keep a recent photo of your children in your Go-bag.

Seniors/Disabled

Seniors & Disabled
  • Set up a Personal Support Network: Designate someone to check on you in an emergency and to help with evacuation or sheltering-in-place.
  • Prepare and carry with you an emergency health information card: This will help you to communicate if you are found unconscious or incoherent. Include information about your medications, adaptive equipment, blood type, allergies and sensitivities, insurance numbers, immunization dates, communication difficulties and preferred treatment, as well as contact information for your health providers, personal support network and emergency contacts.
  • Personal Care Assistance: If you receive assistance from a home healthcare agency or in-home support provider, find out how the provider will respond in an emergency. Designate backup or alternative providers that you can contact in an emergency.
  • For Persons Using a Wheelchair: Plan for how you will evacuate in an emergency and discuss it with your care providers. If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual wheelchair as a backup.
  • For Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired: Keep an extra cane by your bed. Attach a whistle; in case you need to attract attention. Exercise caution when moving, paths may have become obstructed.
  • For Persons who are Hearing Impaired: Keep extra batteries for your hearing aids with emergency supplies. Consider storing your hearing aids in a container attached to your nightstand or bedpost, so you can locate them quickly after a disaster.
  • For persons with Communication Disabilities: Store paper, writing materials, copies of a word or letter board and preprinted key phrases in your emergency kit, your wallet, purse, etc.

Older Adults/Disability Information Line: (415) 626-1033, or www.preparenow.org.

Pets

Pets

Plan:

  • Keep a collar, current license and up-to date ID tags on your pet at all times. Consider having your pet micro-chipped.
  • Make sure your pet is comfortable being in a crate, box, cage, or carrier for transport.
  • Keep an updated list of trusted neighbors who could assist your animals in case of an emergency.
  • Tighten and secure latches on birdcages. Fasten down aquariums on low stands or tables.

Kit:

Make a Go-bag for each pet. Include:

  • Sturdy leashes and pet carriers. A pillowcase is a good option for transporting cats and other small animals. Muzzles for dogs. Food, potable water and medicine for at least one week.
  • Non-spill bowls, manual can opener and plastic lid.
  • Plastic bags, litter box and litter.
  • Recent photo of each pet.
  • Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters.
  • Copy of your pet’s vaccination history and any medical problems.
  • Portable fencing or baby gates.

Respond

  • Remember that animals react differently under stress. Keep dogs securely leashed and transport cats in carriers or pillowcases.
  • If your pet is lost, contact the nearest animal shelter to report your pet missing. When it is safe, return to your neighborhood to search and distribute "Lost Pet" posters; include a current picture of your pet.

Evacuation

Locate all your animals and keep them with you. Be aware that shelters will only allow service animals. In a large-scale disaster, animal shelters will be set up when possible. Animal Care and Control’s (ACC) facility at 15th and Harrison will be an animal sheltering resource.

If you must leave your pets behind:

  • Inform animal rescue workers of your pets’ status: On your front door or in a highly visible window, use chalk, paint or marker to write the number and types of pets in your residence. Include their location in your home and the date that you evacuated.
  • Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot be tipped over.
  • Leave plenty of food in timed feeders to prevent your pet from overeating.
  • Do not tie up your pet in your home.

Food

Food

When a disaster occurs, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks. Store enough emergency food to provide for your family for at least 3 days.

  • Store food items that are familiar, rather than buying special emergency food. Consider any dietary restrictions and preferences you may have.
  • Ideal foods are: Shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), low in salt, and do not require cooking (e.g. canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, canned soup or meats, juices and non-fat dry milk).
  • Mark a rotation date on any food container that does not already have an expiration date on the package.
  • Include baby food and formula or other diet items for infants or seniors.
  • Store the food in airtight, pest-resistant containers in a cool, dark place.
  • Most canned foods can safely be stored for at least 18 months. Low acid foods like meat products, fruits or vegetables will normally last at least 2 years. Use dry products, like boxed cereal, crackers, cookies, dried milk or dried fruit within six months.
After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days.

Water

Water

In a disaster, water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Store enough water for everyone in your family to last for at least 3 days.

  • Store one gallon of water per person, per day. Three gallons per person per day will give you enough to drink and for limited cooking and personal hygiene. Remember to plan for pets.

If you store tap water:

  • Tap water from a municipal water system can be safely stored without additional treatment.
  • Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores. Empty milk bottles are not recommended because their lids do not seal well and bottles may develop leaks.
  • Label and store in a cool, dark place.
  • Replace water at least once every six months.

If you buy commercially bottled “spring” or “drinking” water:

  • Keep water in its original container, and don’t re-store a bottle once it’s been opened.
  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • If bottles are not marked with the manufacturer’s expiration date, label with the date and replace bottles at least once per year.

Treating Water after Disaster:

If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater or the toilet reservoir tank (except if you use toilet tank cleaners). Swimming pool or spa water should not be consumed but you can use it for flushing toilets or washing.

Treatment Process:

Strain any large particles of dirt by pouring the water through layers of paper towels or clean cloth. Next, purify the water one of two ways:

  • Boil - bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 3-5 minutes. After the water cools, pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add oxygen back; this will improve its taste.
  • Disinfect - If the water is clear, add 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water. If it is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon. Make sure you are using regular bleach - 5.25% percent sodium hypochlorite - rather than the "ultra" or "color safe" bleaches. Shake or stir, then let stand 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal.

First Aid

First Aid

In any emergency, you or a family member may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. Keep the following basic first aid supplies so you are prepared to help when someone is hurt.

  • Two pairs of disposable gloves
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic swabs to disinfect
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • Scissors
  • Over-the-counter medicines such as Aspirin or other pain reliever, laxative, anti-diarrhea medication
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine, or asthma inhaler
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose monitoring equipment or blood pressure monitors

Go Bag

Go Bag

A component of your disaster kit is a Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly.  Prepare one Go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.

  • Flashlight
  • Radio - battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children seniors or people with functional needs. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.

Phone

Phone

Plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster.

  • Long-distance phone lines often work before local phone lines, so identify an out-of-state contact and provide this person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Share this information with your family and friends locally.
  • Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster - even if phone lines are un-damaged, increased phone traffic can jam phone circuits.
  • Cordless phones or phone systems require electricity; make sure you have a backup phone that requires no electricity.
  • Keep coins in your go-bag. Payphones may work before other phone lines.
  • Don’t count on your cell phone - increased traffic on cell phone networks can quickly overload wireless capacity.
  • Record an outgoing message on your voicemail so that callers can be re-assured of your safety status.
  • Learn how to use text messaging. It uses a different part of the cell phone network and it might be possible to send and receive text messages when voice channels for mobile phones and land lines are jammed.
  • After an earthquake, check all your telephones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.

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