Our homes provide us with protection, particularly during emergencies. A hurricane or storm that causes flooding also could cause you to lose power. Your faucets might not be supplying clean water. Flooding and downed trees and power lines could close roadways and restrict your ability to even leave home. Preparing our homes for emergencies will ensure that they are safe and comfortable places during a disaster.
A shelter-in-place kit is one of the best tools for keeping you safe in your home during a disaster. This kit provides the food, water, and supplies you need for at least three days. It also provides necessary items that can be hard to find in stores right before a storm because everyone is buying them.
This kit should include:
- Ready-to-eat canned foods that will not spoil quickly and do not need to be refrigerated, such as canned meat, fruit, and vegetables
- Other food items to consider include protein bars, fruit bars, cereal, peanut butter, and dried fruit. For drinking, stock canned juice and nonperishable pasteurized milk.
- One gallon of drinking water for each person for each day (at least three gallons per person)
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- A manual can opener
- A first-aid kit
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
- A radio helps you stay up to date on alerts about the weather, evacuations, and emergency shelters. You can also buy windup radios that don’t need batteries.
- Fully charged backup batteries or power banks for cellphones
- A solar backup that can be charged by sunlight is a good option.
- A whistle to signal for help
- Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper to disinfect tap water
- Disinfect water only if told to do so by health officials. To disinfect water with bleach, add eight drops of bleach for each gallon of water.
- Personal hygiene items for each person, such as hand sanitizer, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and wipes
- Child care supplies such as infant formula and diapers
- Trash bags, plastic sheeting, scissors, and duct tape that can seal minor leaks and keep water from entering broken windows
Here are some other tips for keeping your kit ready for an emergency:
- Keep all of the items in one place. Make sure everyone in the family knows where this place is.
- Store as much as you can in waterproof containers.
- Do not bury your kit underneath other boxes. You want to be able to get to it easily when you need it.
- Make it clear to all family members that these supplies are only for emergencies.
- Check the food and batteries in your kit at least twice a year to make sure they have not expired. To help you keep track, you may want to tape to the lid a list that shows each item’s expiration date. Also write down and tape to your kit the last date you checked it. An easy way to remember this is to check your emergency supplies when you change your clocks at the start and end of daylight saving time.
You can also use this printable checklist to make sure your kit includes everything you need.