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Emergency Preparedness Month: What goes in a disaster supply kit?

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September is FEMA National Emergency Preparedness Month in the U.S. Does your family have a disaster supply kit on-hand?

What basic items should be included in your family’s emergency supply kit? The U.S. government and the American Red Cross recommend the following essentials:

  • Baby Wipes (antibacterial)
  • Basic Tools (hammer, Phillips screwdriver, pliers, screwdriver, wrench)
  • Bible
  • Bleach (unscented)
  • Can Opener (non-electric)
  • Cash
  • Cordless Radio (and extra batteries)
  • Dust Masks (at least one per person)
  • Extra Clothing (one full outfit for each person)
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit (adhesive bandages, antacid, antibacterial ointment or cream, anti-diarrhea medication, burn ointment, eye wash solution, first aid guide, gauze tape, laxative, moist towelettes, pain reliever, petroleum jelly, scissors, sterile gloves, sterile wound dressings, thermometer, tweezers and more)
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Highway Maps (local, state and national)
  • Infant Formula and Diapers (if needed)
  • Matches
  • Non-Perishable Food (at least three days’ rations per person)
  • Paper and Pen or Pencil
  • Paper Towels
  • Pet Food (three days’ worth per pet)
  • Prescription Medications (as needed)
  • Protective Clothing (storm gear)
  • Sleeping Bags (one for each person)
  • Water (at least three gallons per person and pet)
  • Whistle or Horn

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Pack these items in a sturdy waterproof container with a tightly fitting lid. Store your emergency supply kit in an accessible spot, where it can be quickly found, if needed. Each family member needs to know where the emergency supply kit is kept.

Open and sort your family’s emergency supply kit every six months. Discard any damaged or expired items, and restock your emergency supply kit before restoring it.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), together with the Citizen Corps, the Ready Campaign and other federal groups, have designated September as National Emergency Preparedness Month in the United States.

What other essential items ought to be readily available, in case of an emergency?

If a storm hits, a disaster occurs, or the emergency alarms go off, the following items should be close at hand for quick grabbing:

  • Bank records
  • Cellular phones (and chargers)
  • Checkbooks
  • Credit cards
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Emergency contact information
  • Family insurance policies
  • Passports
  • Phone list of extended family members and important contacts

When it comes to emergency preparedness, advance organization is essential, and a disaster supply kit can be a lifesaver.