Creating an emergency kit for a disaster is the first step, but what happens after that? How can you be sure you have what you need and all items stay current and useable? And are they stored where you need them? Ready.gov provides information on building your emergency kit, as well as maintaining and storing it. To find suggested emergency kit items and learn how to best plan for a disaster, visit www.ready.gov.
Maintaining Your Kit
Just as important as putting your emergency supplies together is maintaining them so they are safe to use when needed. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:
Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family's needs change.
Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.
Kit Storage Locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water and supplies for at least three days. Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept. Additionally, you may want to consider having supplies for sheltering for up to two weeks.
You need to be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Make sure you have food and water and other necessities like medicines in your kit. Also, be sure to have comfortable walking shoes at your workplace in case an evacuation requires walking long distances. Your kit should also be in one container and ready to "grab and go" in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car. This kit should include:
Flashlights and extra batteries
First Aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
Water for each person and pet in your car
AM/FM radio for traffic reports and emergency messages
Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
Shovel and Ice scraper
Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
Blankets or sleeping bags
A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
Flares or reflective triangle
Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.