Riding The Storm Out: Disaster Preparedness 101


Every season, all across the country, the weather can cause all kinds of problems.  Blizzards in the Plains, tornadoes in the Midwest, ice storms east and west of the Mississippi – the weather commands respect for the problems it can cause.

Hurricane Sandy, furiously barreling up the Eastern Seaboard this very minute, is a perfect example.  Weathermen are predicting Sandy will merge with a cold front coming from the west and turn into the Storm of the Century.  Sandy has the potential to wreck havoc on some of the most densely populated areas of the country, with power outages predicted to last weeks instead of days.

Are you ready if the power goes out?  Do you have enough food to feed everyone for at least 3 days, in case you can’t get out?  Clean drinking water is very important, and each person needs to have access to at least a gallon a day –  some people will need more.

It’s not too late to put together a basic disaster supplies kit, and if you can’t collect everything you need, collect as much as you can.

  • 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 and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to rig shelter
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following:

  • Eye glasses
  • Prescription glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records;  store in a waterproof, portable container
  • First Aid book for emergency reference
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket(s) for each person. Consider the temperature and decide if you need extra
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. If the weather is cold, add coats, jackets, hats, and gloves
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – when diluted 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. In an emergency, you can use bleach to treat water by adding 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. (Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies, adult diapers, toilet paper, personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
Don’t Forget Special Needs

Your family may have unique needs.  Take some time to think about each person in the family and what they require. Do you have a baby or very young child?  Does an elderly parent or grandparent live with you?  Are you responsible for a disabled family member dependent on certain medical equipment, or medications?  Do you have medications that require refrigeration?

A baby will need:

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Moist towelettes
  • Diaper rash ointment

An Senior in the family may need:

  • Denture supplies
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
Someone Could Get Hurt

In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.

Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection, and assist in cleaning a wound:

  • Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/wound wash/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or for use as general wound wash
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. If you are storing meds long term in anticipation of an emergency, you should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant


Emergency Supply Kit Printable Checklist

Track Hurricane Sandy at the National Hurricane Center

Track Hurricane Sandy on your Mobile Device


Share Button

Leave a Reply