Would you be ready if disaster struck?

We have seen disaster strike again and again this year, and while we cannot prevent it, we can be prepared. If you only have a moment’s notice to evacuate, having a bag ready to grab can make all the difference. The Department of Homeland Security recommends having at least enough food, water and supplies to last 72 hours. Having your kit easily accessible is important to remember, and we recommend designating the top shelf in the entrance closet or garage.

What to include:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Remember to include supplies based on individual needs as well:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Financial Preparedness

Losing everything is a hardship we never want to face. However, it is a tragedy we cannot ignore, and losing your financial documents can make trying to recover even more burdensome. According to Jim Judge, of the American Red Cross’s Scientific Advisory Council, “The majority of Americans haven’t included financial documents in their disaster plan.” Below is a list that you may want  to have digital copies of:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Health insurance card
  • Insurance policies
  • Mortgage and other loan papers
  • Property deeds
  • Car Title and registration
  • Marriage license
  • Will
  • Last year’s tax return
  • Bank account numbers

Learn how you can help those who have been affected by recent natural disasters at the American Red Cross

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