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Personal and Family Disaster Planning Guide

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Just like having a working smoke detector in your home, having an emergency supply kit will put the tools you may need during an emergency or disaster at your fingertips. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and clean air. Plan to store items in an easy-to-carry bag, such as a shopping bag, backpack or duffle bag. Consider two kits. In one, put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away. 

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
Do not postpone putting together your emergency kit because of cost; you can obtain these items over a period of time. 
Remember to rotate medications, water and food supplies to keep them fresh.


One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water. 
If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. 
Store water tightly in clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. 
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. 
Rehydration Drinks
Homemade Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS)
- 1 quart water
- 1 level teaspoon salt
- 8 level teaspoons sugar (or molasses or raw sugar)
- Small amount of flavored sugar free gelatin for flavor (optional)

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for each person. 
Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. 
Include a manual can opener and eating utensils and disposable dishes. 
Avoid salty foods, as they will make you thirsty. 
Choose foods your family will eat.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, dried fruits and vegetables 
- Protein or fruit bars 
- Dry cereal or granola 
- Peanut butter 
- Dried fruit 
- Nuts 
- Crackers 
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk 
- Dried/powdered milk
- Canned juices* 
- High energy foods 
- Vitamins 
- Food for infants 
- Comfort/stress foods 
- Canned soup*
- Canned fruit*
- Canned meat*
- Canned vegetables*
- Can opener for food Energy bars

*Three each for each family member

Miscellaneous Items
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items 
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
Toilet paper
Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation 
Paper towels 
Moist towelettes 

For Baby:
Diaper rash ointment 
Powdered milk

Water and food
Vaccination records

Medical Supplies
Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates. 
Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies. 
First aid kit 
- First aid book
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding. 
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes. 
- Gauze pads
- Roll gauze
- Sunscreen
- Towelettes to disinfect 
- Antibiotic ointment 
- Burn ointment to prevent infection. 
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant. 
- Thermometer 
- Antimicrobial hand soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Rubbing alcohol
- Safety pins
- Adhesive tape
- Tongue blades, 2
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Scissors 
- Tweezers 

Non-prescription drugs:
Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever 
Anti-diarrhea medication 
Antacid (for upset stomach) 

Other medical supplies
Denture needs 
Contact lenses and supplies 
Extra eye glasses 
Tooth brushes and paste
Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex). 
Facial tissue

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both 
Flashlight and extra batteries 
Whistle to signal for help 
Signal flares
Cell phone, with emergency numbers
Local maps 
Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air 
Cash or traveler's checks and change 
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from 
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate. 
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate. 
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners. 
Fire Extinguisher 
Matches in a waterproof container 
Paper and pencil 
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children 
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Basic hand tools and hardware including; 
- Knife
- Pliers/Vice Grips
- Multi Screw driver
- Hammer
- Crow bar
- Leather gloves
- Safety goggles
- Nails
- Wood screws
- Duct tape
- Electricians tape
- Plastic Sheeting
- Rope
- Perforated metal tape

Emergency Documents
Include copies of important documents in your emergency supply kits such as family records, medical records, wills, deeds, social security number, charge and bank accounts information and tax records. 

Have copies of your medical insurance and Medicare cards readily available. 
Keep a list of the style and serial number of medical devices or other life-sustaining devices. Include operating information and instructions. 
Make sure that a friend or family member has copies of these documents. 
Include the names and contact information of your support network, as well as your medical providers. 
If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information notes the best way to communicate with you. 
Keep these documents in a water proof container for quick and easy access. 
Vaccination records

At Work Kit
This kit should be in one container, and ready to "grab and go" in case you are evacuated from your workplace, maybe a small backpack. Make sure you have food and water in the kit. 

Comfortable walking shoes and socks
2 lightsticks with hook and lanyard (to draw the attention of rescue workers) 
1 filtering dusk mask (for smoke, dusk, debris, etc.) 
2 juice pouches
1 travel first aid 
1 travel bottle of Tylenol 
1 travel bottle of Visine 
1 travel bottle of hand sanitizer 
1 travel size wet wipes 
1 Ace bandage 
1 large 4x6 inch stick on bandage 
1 King Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (peanut butter is a high-protein food that provides energy quickly) 
1 small flashlight with extra batteries 
24oz Water 
Work Gloves 
Rain Poncho 
Space Blanket 
For a smaller school or work emergency kit, you could include 1 drink pouch, 1 glow stick, some Band-Aids, and 1 mask inside a water bottle.

Car Kit 
In case you are stranded, keep an emergency supplies kit in your car. Include food, water, first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies.

Bottled water 
Pen or pencil 
Duct tape 
Small card with information about family medical allergies or conditions emergency phone numbers of family and friends 
Cards and games to pass time 
Cellular phone and charger, extra batteries 
Emergency cash ($20 or more) 
Extra set of clothing, socks and underwear for each family member 
First aid kit 
Insurance: health and car insurance card, phone number of agent, 1-800 number of company 
List of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies 
Phone card and quarters (cell phones dont always work in emergencies) 
Portable radio with spare batteries 
Pre-moistened towelettes 
Reflective vest 
Road atlas, maps 
Snack food (high-energy, non perishable foods: canned nuts, granola bars, peanut butter)
Whistle (to attract attention)  
Matches and candle

Disaster Response

Develop a family communication plan
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and where you will meet following the disaster. Consider a plan where each family member calls, or emails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long distance call than a local call, so an out of town contact may be included. Be sure each person has a prepaid phone card or coins. It may be difficult to make a call, just be patient and keep trying. See the last page for a form to document your family communication plan.

Learn how and when to turn off utilities:
If there is damage to your home or you are instructed to turn off your utilities:
Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves. 
Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves. 
Teach family members how to turn off utilities. 
If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

There may be conditions under which you will decide to get away, or there may be situations when you are ordered to leave. Plan how you will assemble your family and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.

Create an evacuation plan:
Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. 
If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate. 
Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. 
If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. 
Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated. 
Lock the door behind you. 
Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency. 

If time allows:
Call or email the "out-of-state" contact in your family communications plan. 
Tell them where you are going. 
If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving. 
Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going. 
Check with neighbors who may need a ride. 

Staying Put / Sheltering in place
Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, there may be situations when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside.

There are other circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "sealing the room," is a matter of survival. Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action.

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning.

To "Shelter in Place and Seal the Room"
Bring your family and pets inside. 
Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers. 
Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems. 
Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated. 
Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible. 
Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time. 
Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination. 
Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available. 

For more detailed information & guidance related to personal emergency preparedness for a variety of disaster scenarios go to this website.  An in-depth planning guide based on information from FEMA & The Department of Homeland Security: BLU-MEDs in-depth Emergency Preparation Guide