Your Health

For Family Backpacks: Emergency Survival Kit

What you need in case of disaster 

When an emergency strikes, you and your family may not have access to food, water or electricity for days. Will you be ready? Experts say that every household should have an emergency preparedness kit on hand. 

The American Red Cross and Uncle Sam recommend storing the following essential items in a large backpack or two, which will allow for a quick exit in case you and your family need to evacuate. (Refresh your emergency kits periodically by replacing any expired medications, food or batteries. Also, replace emergency water every six months.)

Flashlight: If the power goes out, use a flashlight for lighting, rather than candles or any other open flame.Battery-powered radio and extra batteries: Radio reports offer crucial info as area events unfold.

Cell phone: Although service may be interrupted, you may still be able to use your phone to call for information.

Plastic sheeting and duct tape: In the case of a chemical or radiation accident, use plastic sheeting and duct tape to make an enclosed shelter in your home until authorities arrive or announce that all’s clear. Choose an area with few windows and a water supply.

Food: Stash enough nonperishable food for at least three days, including ready-to-eat canned meals, canned fruits and vegetables, and granola bars. Remember baby formula and pet food.

Medications: Stock a three-day supply of prescription medications.

First-aid supplies: Include the following items—absorbent compress, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipe packets, aspirin, first-aid guide, non-latex gloves, roller bandage, scissors and sterile gauze pads.

Dishware: Include paper plates and cups, plastic utensils, and a manual can opener.

Personal hygiene items: Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens supplies and feminine hygiene supplies.

Sanitation items: Include plastic garbage bags and ties.

Clothing: Pack one change of clothing and footwear for each member of the household, including a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, as well as closed-toed shoes or boots.

Water: In or near your backpack(s), keep at least one gallon of water (per person, per day) on hand, stored in a plastic container. Remember, you may need more if you take medications that require water or increase thirst.

Visit the American Red Cross Web site, www.redcross.org, for more information.