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Basic Disaster Survival Kit

Disaster can strike at any time and may not give you adequate warning to gather needed supplies and protection. In order to make sure your family has adequate food, water, shelter, and safety provisions, you should prepare an emergency kit ahead of time. In a severe emergency, help may not arrive for several days or more, so it’s important to make sure you have enough supplies to carry you through an extended period of time without electricity, water, or gas.

Stocking Your Basic Disaster Survival Kit

First Aid Cross

A well-stocked disaster survival kit could mean the difference between life and death in a catastrophic emergency. It can also boost morale and keep the kids entertained if you plan sufficiently. Focus on stocking essentials first, and then consider some comfort items for each member of your family.

Essential Disaster Survival Kit Items

  • Food—Stock items that your family enjoys, including some comfort foods such as coffee, soda, cookies, and favorite snacks.
  • Water—Perhaps the most important item to include in your kit, plan for at least one gallon of water per person per day.
  • First aid supplies—Include any prescription medications your family takes, especially heart or blood pressure medication, insulin, and pain relievers. Also include items for controlling bleeding, bandaging sprains, and setting broken limbs.
  • Shelter—Plan for cold weather by stocking blankets for each family member. You may also want to keep a tent in your car in case you are away from home and other shelter isn’t available.
  • Communication—Keep a cell phone charger in each disaster survival kit. If you lose cell phone coverage, plan for a backup communication method such as a wireless short-wave radio.
  • Lighting—Provide a flashlight and extra batteries for each survival kit. In addition, you may want to keep larger battery powered lighting in your car as well as emergency flares.

Special Considerations for Your Disaster Survival Kit

  • Comfort items—Extended isolation can place strain on families, so pack some books and toys for the kids and make sure you’ve included glasses and contact solution for those who need them.
  • Important documents—Make sure documents such as birth and death certificates, insurance information, and health records are kept in a fireproof box that can be grabbed quickly if you need to evacuate.

Special needs—Don’t forget diapers and formula for the baby, pet food and blankets for your animals, and any needed supplies for elderly members of your family such as dentures and denture cleansers, hearing aid supplies and extra batteries.