Assemble A Disaster Kit
You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, but it could take days.
Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, a week, or even longer. Or you may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you need.
A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items that members of a household may need in the event of a disaster.
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and vehicles.
How much water do I need? You should store at least one gallon of water per person, per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. In determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:
How should I store water? To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it. Be sure to observe the expiration or "use by" date.
If you are preparing your own containers of water: It is recommended that you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supplies stores to use for water storage. Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Follow directions below on filling the container with water.
If you choose to use your own storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles - not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers also leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers because they can break and are heavy.
If storing water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps: Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Sanitize the bottles by adding one teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Filling water containers: Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. If the tap water has been commercially treated from a water utility with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water. Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it.
Store in a cool, dark place. Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
The following are things to consider when putting together your food supplies:
Maintaining Your Kit
Just as important as putting your supplies together is maintain them so they are safe to use when needed.
Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:
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.
For a Hurricane Supply Checklist click here.
You can visit FloridaDisaster.org to build your Family Emergency Plan. A customized Disaster Supply Kit will be generated as part of your plan.