This year’s many natural disasters—from tornadoes and floods to hurricanes and wildfires—are a reminder of how important it is to be prepared.
Getting prepared takes just three steps:
1. Get a Kit At a minimum, have the basic supplies listed below. Keep supplies in an easy-to-carry container that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multipurpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Pressed for time? Check out the ready-made disaster supply kits in the Red Cross store.
2. Make a Plan Every family should create and practice an evacuation and communications plan. Each person should know how to reach other family members and where to meet if they can’t return home. You should also designate an out-of-area relative or friend as an emergency contact and make sure all household members know how to contact this person.
To make an evacuation plan, choose two meeting places: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
Decide where you would go and what route you would take if you had to evacuate. Make sure to also plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of "pet friendly" motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
3. Be Informed Learning the skills you need to respond in an emergency before help arrives is another important key to being prepared. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid and CPR and knows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Go to Redcross.org to learn more and register for a class.