Your Family Disaster Plan

It is the nature of most disasters to strike with little advance warning, so it makes sense to have a plan in place to prepare our families as much as possible for such events. While the forces of nature are unpredictable, you can have some control over the outcome, if you take this opportunity to update your family’s disaster supplies and learn and follow some simple safety rules.

Being Prepared & Supplied

While the possibility of terrorist acts is a matter of concern to all Americans, many types of disasters could affect your family. A hazardous material (HAZMAT) accident could force your family to evacuate your home. A winter storm, an earthquake or a tornado could cut off basic services such as gas, water, electricity or telephone service.

Disaster preparedness calls for packing six basic types of supplies in a special container (such as a large trash container, a backpack or a duffel bag) in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Those supplies include:

  • Water - store one gallon per person per day
  • Food items such as:
    • Ready to eat canned food
    • Canned juices
    • High energy foods
    • Vitamins
    • Comfort foods
    • Special foods for infants or family members on a special diet
  • First aid supplies including:
    • Antiseptic soap
    • Bandages
    • Latex gloves
    • Nonprescription drugs such as aspirin, antacid, anti-diarrhea medication
  • Clothing and bedding to include:
    • Blankets
    • Gloves
    • Hats
    • Rain gear
    • Sunglasses
    • Thermal underwear
    • Sturdy shoes
  • Tools and emergency supplies such as: 
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Flashlights
    • Household chlorine bleach
    • Liquid soap
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • Personal items
    • Pliers
    • Shut off wrench
    • Battery-operated radio
  • Special items for an infant
  • Medication for family members
  • Books and games for entertainment
  • Important family documents

Always keep the gas tank full in at least one of your family’s vehicles.

Hazardous Weather Conditions

One of the essential rules is to keep ahead of the weather by listening to the latest weather reports on radio and television. In preparing for a severe storm, you should have the following items readily on hand at home:

  • Several days supply of non-perishable food and drinking water
  • Extra blankets
  • A battery powered radio
  • A flashlight and fresh supply of batteries
  • An emergency or backup heating system

Be sure to check for an adequate supply of heating fuel and be aware of fire hazards posed by the prolonged use of stoves, fireplaces and space heaters. The safest place to be during a storm is indoors. Dress properly before venturing outdoors. In cold weather, wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellant, and hooded. Following these safety measures and being prepared may make the critical difference in how you and your family survive a disaster.