Prepare for a Natural Disaster

Here in New England we have learned to prepare for winter storms and the potential of lost power. And, in other parts of the country, people need to think about what options they may have when natural disasters strike — snow storms, floods, hurricanes, dust storms, tornadoes, etc. The best insurance is preparedness.

So a word of advice:  Prepare a basic storm kit.

This kit is similar to a Grab ‘n Go bag, but designed to house those items needed when the power goes out, you plan to hunker down at home, or stashed in your car when you need to head toward a safer location. Many items you need may be handy within your home, but stock this container just in case you need to get out of your house quickly.

To get started, designate a sturdy Rubbermaid container with a tight-fitting lid to house emergency supplies keeping them dry and easily accessible. Consider what items you will depend upon for at least 48-72 hours. If you have already prepared your Grab ‘n Go Bag some of the following items may be duplicates. Just make sure these items are stored accessible and easy to grab in an emergency.

Basics

  • First Aid Kit with antiseptic wipes, bandages, scissors
  • Light sticks, oil lamps, candles (matches in a waterproof container), and flashlights with extra batteries
  • Battery-operated (with extra batteries) or hand-cranked radio
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pillows, ear plug and eye mask
  • Whistle

Food

  • Hand can opener
  • Several days worth of non-perishable packaged or canned meats, fruit and vegetables, juice, and energy/high-protein bars. Check dates and rotate items at least every six months.
  • Water – one gallon per person per day
    • If you have been warned of severe weather and have sufficient time, fill sinks, tubs and buckets with water. This water can be used for hygiene and the water in your kit can be saved for consumption.
    • Water filters or purification tablets, such as those used by campers, are also great for emergency potable water. Replace water supply every 6 months.
    • Sterno stove for heating soup, canned vegetables or water
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic ware

Paperwork

  • Copy of important phone numbers
  • Copies of important documents; insurance policies, health insurance cards, IDs, government benefit eligibility documents, etc.
  • Cash include small bills and extra quarters. Banks and ATMs may not be open, so have a stash.
  • Cell phone charging adapters or portable charger
  • Map showing shelter locations
  • Paper and pencils / pens

Personal items

  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Prescription medications and other medical needs.

Pet Supplies

  • Food
  • Water
  • Dishes
  • Cage or travel pack

For those fortunate to own a generator, be sure to have sufficient gas on hand. Also have extra propane for gas grill, sterno for portable stove top, and other cooking device.

For more information, check out Ready.gov.

Here you will learn about preparedness, alerts and how to build your emergency kit.