> Disaster Services > Emergency Survival Guide
Disaster can strike quickly and
without warning. It can force you to evacuate your
neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if
basic services -- water, gas, electricity or telephones --
were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on
the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone
Families can -- and do -- cope
with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as
a team. Follow the steps listed below to create your family's
disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and
Four steps to safety
1. Find Out What
Could Happen to You
Contact the American Red Cross
or your county emergency management agency. Be prepared to
- Ask what types of disasters
are most likely to happen. Request information on how to
prepare for each.
- Learn about your community's
warning signals: what they sound like and what you should
do when you hear them.
- Ask about animal care after
disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency
shelters due to health regulations.
- Find out how to help elderly
or disabled persons, if needed.
- Find out about the disaster
plans at your workplace, your children's school or
day-care center and other places where your family spends
2. Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and
discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the
dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children.
Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
1. Right outside your home in case
of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- Discuss the types of
disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to
do in each case.
- Pick two places to meet:
2. Outside your neighborhood in
case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and
- Ask an out-of-town friend to
be your "family contact." After a disaster, it's
often easier to call long distance.
- Other family members should
call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone
must know your contact's phone number.
- Discuss what to do in an
evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
3. Complete This Checklist
- Post emergency telephone
numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)
- Teach children how and when
to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services
number for emergency help.
- Show each family member how
and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the
- Check if you have adequate
- Teach each family member how
to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them
where it's kept.
- Install smoke alarms on each
level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and
assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Take a Red Cross first aid
and CPR class.
- Determine the best escape
routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe places in your
home for each type of disaster.
4. Practice and Maintain
- Quiz your kids every six
months so they remember what to do.
- Conduct fire and emergency
- Replace stored water and
stored food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire
extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Test your smoke detectors
monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
Fire is one of the most common
disasters. It causes more deaths than any other type of
disaster. However, fire doesn't have to be deadly if you have
early warning from a smoke detector and everyone in your
family knows how to escape calmly.
Please be serious about the
responsibility of planning for and practicing what to do in
case of a fire. Here are tips to help you prepare for such an
Make your home fire safe
- Smoke detectors save lives.
Install a battery-powered smoke detector outside each
sleeping area and on each additional level of your home.
- Use the test button to check
each smoke detector once a month. Replace batteries at
least once a year.
- Have a working fire
extinguisher in the kitchen. Get training from the fire
department in how to use it.
Plan your escape routes
- Determine at least two ways
to escape from every room of your home.
- If you must use an escape
ladder, be sure everyone knows how to use it.
- Select a location outside
your home where everyone would meet after escaping.
- Practice your escape plan at
least twice a year.
- Once you are out, stay out!
- If you see smoke in your
first escape route, use your second way out. If you must
exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to escape.
- If you are escaping through
a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is
hot, use your second way out.
- If smoke, heat, or flames
block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door
closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at
the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the
fire department and tell them where you are.
A thunderstorm is always
accompanied by lightning. Thunderstorms are intense local
storms averaging 20 miles across and reaching as high as 10
miles. Thunderstorms occur in all 50 states and all U.S.
territories. Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and
Before lightning strikes
Keep an eye on the sky. Look for
darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen
for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are
close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to
safe shelter immediately! Listen to the National Oceanic
Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Weather Radio, commercial radio
or television for the latest weather forecasts.
When a storm approaches
- Find shelter in a building
or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any
- Avoid taking a bath or
shower, or running water for any other purpose. Turn off
the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can
overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job!
- Draw blinds and shades over
windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the
wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into
If caught outside
- If you are in the woods,
take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you are boating or
swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!
Protecting yourself outside
- Go to a low-lying, open
place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.
- Make sure the place you pick
is not subject to flooding.
- Be a very small target.
Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees
with your head between them.
- Do not lie flat on the
ground -- this will make you a larger target!
After the storm passes
- Stay away from storm-damaged
- Listen to the radio for
information and instructions.
If someone is struck by
- People struck by lightning
carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
- Call for help. Get someone
to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services
- The injured person has
received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where
they were struck and where the electricity left their
body. Check for burns in both places.
- Give first aid. If breathing
has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has
stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.
Learn first aid and CPR
- Take a Red Cross first aid
and CPR course. Call your local Red Cross chapter for
class schedules and fees.
YOU READY FOR A FLOOD?
Prolonged rainfall over several
days can cause a river or stream to overflow and flood the
surrounding area. A flash flood from a broken dam or levee or
after intense rainfall of one inch (or more) per hour often
catches people unprepared.
Regardless, the rule for being
safe is simple: head for the high ground and stay away from
the water. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving flood water
produces more force than most people imagine. The most
dangerous thing you can do is to try walking, swimming, or
driving through such swift water.
Here's what you can do to
prepare for these types of emergencies:
Know what to expect
- Know your area's flood risk
-- if unsure, call your local Red Cross chapter.
- If it has been raining hard
for several hours, or steadily raining for several days,
be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Listen to local radio or TV
stations for flood information.
- Floods can take several
hours or days to develop --
- A flood WATCH means a
flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means
flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in
- Flash floods can take only a
few minutes to a few hours to develop --
- A flash flood WATCH
means flash flooding is possible in your area.
- A flash flood WARNING
means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
- Check your homeowner's or
renter's insurance to see if it covers flooding. If not,
find out how to get flood insurance.
- Keep insurance policies,
documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
- Identify where you could go
if told to evacuate. Choose several places such as a
friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter.
When a flood WATCH is issued
- Move your furniture and
valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car's gas tank, in
case an evacuation notice is issued.
When a flood WARNING is issued
- Listen to local radio and TV
stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate,
do so as soon as possible.
When a flash flood WATCH is
- Be alert to signs of flash
flooding and be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.
When a flash flood WARNING is
- Or if you think it has
already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only
seconds to escape. Act quickly!
- Move to higher ground away
from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains. Do not
drive around barricades -- they are there for your safety.
- If your car stalls in
rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to
YOU READY FOR A TORNADO?
The Wizard of Oz notion that "twisters" only happen
in Kansas. Tornadoes have been reported in every state. And
while they generally occur during spring and summer, they can
happen anytime during the year.
With winds swirling at 200
miles an hour or more, a tornado can destroy just about
anything in its path. Generally, there are weather signs and
warnings that will alert you to take precautions. Here's how
you can prepare for such an emergency.
Prepare a home tornado plan
- Pick a place where family
members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It
could be your basement, or if there is no basement, a
center hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest floor.
Keep this place uncluttered.
- If you are in a high-rise
building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest
floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the
- Conduct periodic tornado
drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is
Stay tuned for storm warnings
- Listen to your local radio
and TV stations for updated storm information.
Know what tornado WATCHES and
- A tornado WATCH means a
tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado WARNING means a
tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.
Go to safety immediately.
In Franklin, Madison and
Fayette counties the tornado sirens are activated during a
tornado WARNING. The current ten minute pattern is three
minutes of siren followed by seven minutes of silence,
repeated during the duration of the WARNING. Check with your
local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to learn your county's
When a tornado WATCH is issued
- Listen to local radio and TV
stations for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather
conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching
tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a
When a tornado WARNING is
- If you are inside, go to the
safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and
other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your
- If you are outside, hurry to
a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or
- If you are in a car or
mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as
After the tornado passes
- Watch out for fallen power
lines and stay out of the damaged area.
- Listen to the media for
information and instructions.
- Use a flashlight to inspect
your home for damage.
READY FOR A WINTER STORM?
Winter storms bring ice, snow,
cold temperatures and often dangerous driving conditions.
Here's what you can do to prepare for such an emergency.
Prepare a winter storm plan
- Have extra blankets on hand.
- Ensure that each member of
your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat and
- Assemble a disaster supplies
- Stay tuned for storm
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio
and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm
- Know what winter storm
WATCHES and WARNINGS mean:
- A winter storm WATCH
means a winter storm is possible in your area.
- A winter storm WARNING
means a winter storm is headed for your area.
- A blizzard WARNING
means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow and
dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter
When a winter storm
WATCH is issued
- Listen to NOAA Weather
Radio, local radio and TV stations, or cable TV such as
The Weather Channel, for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
When a winter storm WARNING
- Stay indoors during the
- If you must go outside,
several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you
warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a
hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to
protect your lungs.
- Understand the hazards of
wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and
cold temperatures on exposed skin. As the wind increases,
heat is carried away from a person's body at an
accelerated rate, lowering body temperature.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy
- After the storm, if you
shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically
strenuous work, so take frequent breaks. Avoid
Avoid traveling by car in a
storm, but if you must
- Have emergency supplies in
- Keep your car's gas tank
full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from
- Let someone know your
destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If
your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along
your predetermined route.
If you do get stuck
- Stay with your car. Do not
try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth
(preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and use the
heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust
pipe clear so fumes won't back up into the car. Leave the
overhead light on when the engine is running so that you
can be seen.
- As you sit, keep moving your
arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
- Keep one window away from
the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
Heat can affect anyone. However,
it is more likely to affect young children, elderly people and
people with health problems. Consult a physician if you have
any questions about how your medication may affect your
ability to tolerate heat. Here's what you can do to prepare
yourself and your family.
Know what these terms mean:
Heat wave: Prolonged
period of excessive heat and humidity. The National Weather
Service steps up its procedures to alert the public during
these periods of excessive heat and humidity.
Heat index: A number in
degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it really feels when
relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.
Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15oF.
Heat cramps: Heat
cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion.
They usually involve the abdominal muscles or legs. It is
generally thought that the loss of water from heavy sweating
causes the cramps.
Heat exhaustion: Heat
exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or
work in a warm humid place where body fluids are lost through
heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing
blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a
form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim's condition
will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim
may suffer heat stroke. Signals may be cool, moist, pale or
flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting;
dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near
Heat stroke: Heat
stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control
system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops
working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain
damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
Signals may be hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid,
weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing.
Another term for heat stroke.
If a heat wave is
predicted or happening
- Slow down. Avoid strenuous
activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during
the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the
morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Stay indoors as much as
possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on
the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. Remember, electric
fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat
evaporate, which cools your body.
- Wear lightweight,
light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away
some of the sun's energy.
- Drink plenty of water
regularly and often. Your body needs water to keep cool,
so you should drink plenty of fluids even if you do not
- Water is the safest liquid
to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with
alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good
briefly, but make the heat's effects on your body worse.
This is especially true about beer, which actually
dehydrates the body.
- Eat small meals and eat more
often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which
increase metabolic heat.
- Avoid using salt tablets
unless directed to do so by a physician.
Treatment of heat
Heat cramps: Get
the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a
comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and
replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15
minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them,
as they can make conditions worse.
Heat exhaustion: Get
the person out of the heat and into a cooler place. Remove or
loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as
towels or sheets. If the person is conscious, give cool water
to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half
glass of water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids that
contain alcohol or caffeine. Let the victim rest in a
comfortable position and watch carefully for changes in his or
Heat stroke: Body
temperature can be very high -- sometimes as high as 105oF. If
the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may
be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry. Heat stroke is a
life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or
your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler
place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath,
or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for
signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and
continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim
refuses water, is vomiting, or there are changes in the level
of consciousness, do not give them anything to eat or drink.
Earthquakes aren't just something
for people in California to be concerned about. They can
happen in most states...anytime...without warning. Here's what
you can do to prepare for such an emergency.
- Prepare a Home Earthquake
- Select a place everyone
would meet following an earthquake.
- Designate an out-of-town
family member or friend to be your family contact person
so that each of you can call him or her to say you're safe
or to relay messages.
- Conduct periodic earthquake
drills and review your Home Earthquake Plan every so
- Make these simple
improvements around your home --
- Strap the water heater to a
- Bolt bookcases and other
tall, heavy furniture to the wall.
- Put bolts or latches on
- Take a first aid and CPR
course from the Red Cross chapter.
When the shaking begins
If you are inside, go
only a few steps to a safe place you have already picked. It
could be a heavy desk or table you could crouch under (and
hold on to) to be safe from falling objects or just an inside
corner of a room. Pick a place away from windows, bookcases,
or tall, heavy furniture that could fall on you.
If you live in a high-rise
building, don't be surprised if the fire alarms and
sprinklers go off during a quake.
If you are outside, find
a clear area away from buildings, trees, and power lines.
If you are in a car,
drive to a clear area and stay in the car until the shaking
After the shaking stops
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Check people for injuries.
Give first aid.
- Inspect your home for
- Listen to the radio for
- Go to a Red Cross shelter if
your home is unsafe.
Hurricanes are most threatening to
residents along our nation's coastlines. But such fierce
storms also have been known to build up enough momentum to
carry their destructive winds inland for hundreds of miles.
Heavy rains, flooding and tornadoes add to the damage
hurricanes can inflict upon your home and community, and these
bring the most common affects to Ohio. Here's what you can do
to prepare for such an emergency.
Know what hurricane WATCH
and WARNING mean
Prepare for high winds
- A hurricane WATCH
means conditions are possible in the specified area of the
WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
- A hurricane WARNING
means conditions are expected in the specified area of
the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.
In coastal areas, install
hurricane shutters or precut 1/2" outdoor plywood for
each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and
predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up
Make trees more wind resistant
by removing diseased or damaged limbs, then strategically
removing branches so that wind can blow through.
If you are visiting a
coastal area know what to do when a hurricane WATCH is
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio
or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm
- Prepare to bring indoors
lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash
cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked
up by the wind.
- Prepare to cover ALL
windows. If shutters have not been installed, use precut
plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not
prevent windows from breaking; so taping windows is not
- Fill your car's gas tank.
- Recheck manufactured home
- Check batteries and stock
canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and
If you are visiting a
coastal area identify what to do when a hurricane
WARNING is issued
- Listen to the advice of
local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
- Complete preparation
- If you are not advised to
evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
- Be aware, the calm
"eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The
worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes
over and the winds blow from the opposite direction.
Trees, shrubs, buildings and other objects damaged by the
first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds
that blow from the opposite direction.
- Be alert for tornadoes.
Tornadoes can happen during and after a hurricane passes
over. Remain indoors, in the center of the building, in a
closet or room without windows.
- Stay away from flood waters.
If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go
another way. If waters are rising rapidly around you, get
out of the car and climb to higher ground.
Know what to do after a
hurricane is over
- Keep listening to NOAA
Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for
- If you evacuated, return
only when local officials tell you it is safe to do so and
inspect building for damage.
Chemicals are a natural and
important part of our environment. Even though we often don't
think about it, we use chemicals every day. Chemicals help us
keep our food fresh and our bodies clean. They help our plants
to grow and fuel our cars. And chemicals make it possible for
us to live longer, healthier lives.
Under certain conditions,
chemicals can be poisonous or have a harmful effect on your
health. Some chemicals which are safe and even helpful in
small amounts, can be harmful in larger quantities or under
You may be exposed to a
chemical in three ways:
1. Breathing the chemical
2. Swallowing contaminated
food, water or medication
3. Touching the chemical, or
coming into contact with clothing or things which have touched
Remember, you may be exposed to
chemicals even though you may not be able to see or smell
Major Chemical Emergencies
A major chemical emergency
is an accident which releases a hazardous amount of a chemical
into the environment. Accidents can happen underground, on
railroad tracks or highways and at manufacturing plants. These
accidents sometimes result in a fire or explosion, but many
times you can not see or smell anything unusual.
In the event of a major
chemical emergency, you will be notified by the authorities.
To get your attention, a siren could sound, you may be called
by telephone, or emergency personnel may drive by and give
instructions over a loudspeaker. Officials could even come to
your door. Listen carefully to radio or television emergency
broadcast stations and strictly follow instructions. Your life
could depend on it.
One of the basic instructions
you may be given in a chemical emergency is to shelter-in-place.
This is a precaution aimed to keep you and your family safe
while remaining in your home. If you are told to
shelter-in-place, take your children and pets indoors
While gathering your family,
you can provide a minimal amount of protection to your
breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth.
Close all windows; turn off fans, heating and air conditioning
systems; close the fireplace damper; go to an above ground
room with the fewest windows and doors; take your Family
Disaster Supplies Kit with you; wet some towels and jam them
in the crack under the doors, tape around doors, windows,
exhaust fans or vents; if there is a danger of explosion,
close shades, blinds or curtains and stay away from the
windows; stay in the room and listen to your radio until you
are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.
There are many organizations
which help the community in an emergency, such as police, fire
and sheriff departments, American Red Cross and government
agencies. All these groups coordinate their activities through
the local office of emergency management. In many areas there
are local Hazardous Materials, or Haz-Mat, Teams who are
trained to respond to chemical emergencies. In such an event
it is very important you follow the instructions of these
highly trained professionals. They know how best to protect
you and your family.
The most common home chemical
emergencies involve small children eating medicines. Experts
in the field of chemical manufacturing suggest that taking
hazardous materials out of sight could eliminate up to 75
percent of all poisoning of small children.
Keep all medicines, cosmetics,
cleaning products and other household chemicals out of sight
and out of reach of children. If your child should eat or
drink a non-food substance, find any containers immediately
and take them to the phone. Call the Poison Control Center, or
Emergency Medical Services, or 9-1-1, or call the operator to
get this information. Follow their instructions carefully.
Often the first aid advice found on containers may not be
appropriate. So, do not give anything by mouth until you have
been advised by medical professionals.
Other home accidents can result
from trying to improve the way a product works by adding one
substance to another, not following directions for use of a
product or by improper storage or disposal of a chemical. The
first precaution you can take is to avoid mixing common
household products. Some combinations of these products, such
as ammonia and bleach, can create toxic gases.
A second important precaution
is to always read the directions before using a new
product. Some products should not be used in a small confined
space to avoid inhaling dangerous vapors. Other products
should not be used without gloves and eye protection to help
prevent the chemical from touching your body.
Another effective way to
protect yourself and your family is to store chemical
products properly. Non-food products should be stored tightly
closed in their original container so you can always identify
the contents of each container and how to properly use the
Never smoke while using
household chemicals. Don't use hair spray, cleaning solutions,
paint products or pesticides near the open flame of an
appliance, pilot light, lighted candle, fireplace, wood
burning stove, etc. Although you may not be able to see or
smell them, vapor particles in the air could catch fire or
If you should spill a
chemical, clean it up immediately with some rags, being
careful to protect your eyes and skin. Allow the fumes in the
rags to evaporate outdoors in a safe place, then dispose of
them by wrapping them in a newspaper and then placing them in
a sealed plastic bag. Dispose of these materials with your
trash. If you don't already have one, buy a fire extinguisher
that is labeled for A, B and C class fires and keep it handy.
Buy only as much of a
chemical as you think you will use. If you have a product left
over, try to give it to someone who will use it. Take care to
dispose of it properly. Improper disposal can result in harm
to yourself, members of your family, other people or can
accidentally contaminate our local water supply.
It is also important to dispose
of products properly to preserve our environment and protect
wildlife. Plus, some products can be recycled to further
protect our environment.
Many household chemicals can be
taken to your local household hazardous waste collection
facility. Many facilities accept pesticides, fertilizers,
household cleaners, oil-based paints, drain and pool cleaners,
antifreeze and brake fluid. If you have questions about how to
dispose of a chemical, call the facility or the environmental
or recycling agency to learn the proper method of disposal.
There are six basic categories you
should stock in your home: water, food, first aid supplies,
clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special
items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during
an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.
Store water in plastic
containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers
that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass
bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two
quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense
physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing
mothers and ill people will need more. Store one gallon of
water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts
for food preparation/sanitation) and keep at least a three-day
supply of water for each person in your household.
Store at least a three-day
supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no
refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno and matches.
Select food items that are compact and lightweight. If you
store powdered items, store some extra water. Remember
vitamins and foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on
FIRST AID KIT
Assemble a first aid kit for
your home and one for each car. Include non-prescription drugs
found in your medicine cabinet, and necessary prescription
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
A battery-operated radio and
flashlight, both with extra batteries, are essential. In
addition, food preparation supplies and eating utensils, an
emergency preparedness manual, cash or traveler's checks,
change, non-electric can opener, utility knife, camping
supplies, storage containers, signal flare, playing cards or
other activities, tools to turn off utilities, whistle,
plastic sheeting, matches in a waterproof container and
sanitation supplies are recommended. For sanitation, include
toilet paper, towelettes, soap, liquid detergent, feminine
supplies, personal hygiene items, plastic garbage bags,
disinfectant and household chlorine bleach.
CLOTHING AND BEDDING
Include at least one complete
change of clothing and footwear per person. Include sturdy
shoes or work boots, rain gear, blankets or sleeping bags,
work gloves, hat and gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses.
Remember family members with
special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled
persons. Include their food, medicines and personal care
items. Important family documents should also be kept in a
waterproof, portable container.
- Store your kit in a
convenient place known to all family members. Keep a
smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk
of your car.
- Keep the items in air tight
- Change and replace your
stored water and stored food every six months.
- Re-think your kit and family
needs at least once a year.
- Replace batteries, update
- Ask your physician or
pharmacist about storing prescription medications.