Disasters can come in the form of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, bad storms, floods or even war. Whether a disaster is caused by nature or by human forces, it’s important to be prepared. Join us on September 30 for America's National PrepareAthon Day during National Preparedness Month!
In anticipation, we made a preparedness checklist for you! But, even with a checklist, you need to know what it takes to be prepared for any disaster.
In some emergencies, clean water may become unavailable. FEMA recommends having at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.1
Also, the Department of Homeland Security’s home preparedness tips suggest that you should have enough food and water to last at least 72 hours, which includes having three gallons of clean water per person in your family ready in case of any emergency.2 Children, pregnant or nursing women and sick people may need even more water than the recommended minimum.3
Different emergencies, like an earthquake or large storm, can affect your water in unexpected ways so it’s important to have an emergency water supply or purification method in case of water contamination. 4 Luckily, municipal water suppliers are required to notify local customers if their drinking water might not be safe. They will let you know whether you need to boil water or if the municipal water supply cannot be used at all.5
Food and Nutrition
While water is the primary need since humans cannot go more than three days without it, you also need a food supply in case of emergencies. 6 The best food for emergencies are dried food kits, which can be stored away for years.
Canned goods are an option too; however, they tend to be heavier and bulkier than dried foods.7 In the case you need to relocate during an emergency, having a minimal canned good stock is important.
Power and Communication
During an emergency, there is a chance that you likely will not have access to television or internet. Your cellular device could possibly work, so it’s important to keep extra power banks in case you need to charge your devices. But in some disasters, a cellular network may go down or cellular traffic could be so high that you won’t be able to communicate with anyone!8
This is where the classic radio comes into play. A Ham radio is still the go-to communication system for most emergency responders and should be yours, too. Make sure to keep extra batteries around for that radio!8
Depending on the situation, your friends and family may need other items in your emergency preparedness kit. This includes lighting options like candles, oil lamps and flashlights. You may also need extra blankets, sweaters and socks as well as sleeping bags, especially if you relocate in an emergency.
The final part to your emergency preparedness kit is to make a plan. For any emergency, from tornadoes to times of war, you need to know how you and your family will evacuate (if you need to), where to go for safety and how to contact one another.
1. "Graphic: National Preparedness Month." FEMA.gov. Accessed September 16, 2016. https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/118249.
2. "Build A Kit." Ready.gov. Accessed September 16, 2016. https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
3. "The Importance of Uncontaminated Water." Survival Goods. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://www.survival-goods.com/The-Importance-of-Water-s/204.htm.
4. Drinking Water Emergency Response Information. PDF. San Francisco: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
5. "Water Emergencies." DrinkTap.org. 2016. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://www.drinktap.org/water-info/questions-about-water/water-emergencies.aspx.
6. "How Long Can a Person Survive Without Water?" LiveScience. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://www.livescience.com/32320-how-long-can-a-person-survive-without-water.html.
7. "Make Your Own Survival Kit." All Things Emergency Prepared. 2014. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://www.all-things-emergency-prepared.com/make-your-own-survival-kit.html.
8. "How to Communicate When the World Goes Silent." Graywolf Survival. 2013. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://graywolfsurvival.com/2716/ham-radio-best-shtfdisaster-communication/.