Disaster Preparedness Emergency Kit
A disaster supplies kit is simply a kit with basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
It is important to assemble your kit now, before an emergency occurs. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you, in which you may not have time to search for the supplies you need or go shopping for them. It is highly recommended to have a kit in your home and a smaller version in your car.
Emergency responders and relief personnel will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately, meaning you may need to survive on your own for hours, days or even weeks. This means you should have your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.
Keep in mind basic services such as electricity, telephones, gas, water, sewage treatment and even cell phone services may be cut off for days or weeks. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages, such as manual can openers etc.
- NOAA emergency alert weather radio (Battery or Hand Crank)
- First Aid Kit
- Extra Batteries
- Cash and/or credit cards
- Important documents (insurance cards etc)
- Dust mask
- Moist towelettes
- Garbage bags (plastic)
- Duct tape
- Manual can opener
- Prescription medication
- Infant formula, diapers and other specialty items
- Pet food and other specialty items
- Sleeping bag/blanket
- Change of clothes
- Fire extinguisher
- Waterproof matches
- Feminine supplies
- Personal hygiene items
- Paper, pencil/pen, books etc.
You can create your own supply kit with our suggestions, or you can add some items made for convenience such as meals prepackaged (meals ready to eat/MRE) with heating elements etc. These items may be available at an army surplus store, or on the internet.
- Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Choose foods your family will eat.
- Remember any special dietary needs.
- Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
- Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
Following are some suggestions on selecting emergency food supplies:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort/stress foods
Water is an essential to survive and a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit. Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available either by being shut off, or contaminated.
You should store at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days. However individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate. A normally active person needs at least one gallon of water daily just for drinking.
Take the following into account when determining your water needs:
- One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
- Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
- A medical emergency might require additional water.
- Nashville is a warm weather climate, and more water may be necessary. On very hot days, water needs can double.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
In order to prepare the safest and most reliable emergency water supply, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open until you need to use it. Observe the expiration or “use by” date. Store in cool, dark place.
Maintaining Your Kit
Creating your kit is half the battle, now you need to maintain it so it is safe to use when needed. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
- Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
- Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
- Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
- Change stored food and water every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.
Tip: When it is time to change your clocks ahead or back, that is a great reminder to change your smoke alarm batteries, and check your supplies for expired items or any leaks or other damage. You can also make this a family safety day!