Week 2: Build an emergency kit

Preparedness Tip #1
Complete an emergency contact card and make copies for each member of your family to carry with them. Be sure to include an out of-town contact on your contact card. It may be easier to reach someone out of town if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded. You should also have at least one traditionally wired landline phone, as cordless or cellular phones may not work in an emergency. Visit www.redcross.org or www.ready.gov for sample emergency contact cards.

Preparedness Tip #2
You should keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of you and your family for at least three days. Build an emergency supply kit to take with you in an evacuation. For ideas on how to build an emergency kit check out www.ready.gov

Preparedness Tip #3
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation).  Try storing water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk Cartons or glass bottles.

Preparedness Tip #4
Preparing for emergencies needn’t be expensive if you’re thinking ahead and buying small quantities at a time. Make a list of some foods that:  Have a long shelf-life and not spoil, you and your family like, do not require cooking, can be easily stored and have a low salt content as salty foods will make you thirstier.

Preparedness Tip #5
Take a minute to check your family’s first aid kit, and note any depleted items - then, add them to your shopping list. Don’t have a first aid kit? Add that to the list or build a kit yourself. Consider creating a kit for each vehicle as well. For ideas on how to build a kit check out www.ready.gov.

Preparedness Tip #6
One of the easiest ways you can prepare for emergencies is to keep some supplies readily available. Every kit is unique and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your family. Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person in your emergency supply kit.  It’s advised to pack long pants and long sleeves for additional protection after a disaster.  You should also keep a smaller version of your emergency supply kit in your vehicle.

Preparedness Tip #7
A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed. You may be forced to live in temporary housing; income may be cut off or significantly reduced. Important financial records could be destroyed. Take the time now to assess your situation and ask questions. To help you, consider using the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a tool developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps or contact your local Red Cross chapter for Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness.