Whatever happens with the weather this week, it’s a good idea to have an emergency-supply kit ready. If a disaster strikes, you may not have access to food, water or electricity for several days, and stores may be closed or may sell out of important supplies.
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Here are some tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about what items should be included in a kit:
Food and water: The CDC recommends you have at least a three-day supply, including one gallon of water per person per day; foods that are easy to make and won’t spoil, such as canned soup, dry pasta and powdered milk; a manual can opener; and basic utensils to prepare and serve meals.
Once you have put together an emergency kit, be sure to check expiration dates on food, water, medicine and batteries at least twice a year.
Health supplies: You should have, at minimum, a three-day supply on hand of all medicines, as well as medical supplies that you may need such as syringes, canes or batteries for hearing aids.
Personal-care items: That includes soap, toothbrushes (and toothpaste), baby wipes, glasses and contact lenses.
Safety supplies: Should include a first-aid kit, an emergency blanket, a multipurpose tool (preferably one that can act as a knife, file, pliers and screwdriver) and a whistle.
Electronics: A flashlight, a radio (battery-powered, solar or hand-cranked) that can be used to get updates on the situation, a cellphone with chargers, and extra batteries and charged power banks.
Important documents: Identification, insurance cards, paperwork about any serious medical conditions. (Store in water proof gallon bag or folder)
Other Items: The CDC also recommends keeping handy extra cash, an extra set of your car and house keys, and maps of the area.
For children: Stock baby supplies, if needed (formula, baby food, diapers, etc.), and games and activities for older kids.
For pets: A three-day supply of food and water, plus bowls, cleaning supplies, a sturdy leash for dogs or pet carrier for cats and smaller dogs, plus current documentation, including photos, to help others identify them as your pets if you become separated from them. They recommend bringing pet toys and, if you can easily bring it, the pet’s bed to help reduce stress.
*Clearly label containers and store them where you can reach them easily, and remember that certain items, including medication and paper documents, need to be kept in waterproof containers.
*The CDC recommends asking your kids to think of items they would like to include in an emergency supply kit, such as books, games and prepackaged foods. You can also include kids in the planning of disaster kits for family pets.
*Another recommendation: Find out where your gas, electric and water shut-off locations are, and make sure you know how to turn them off if needed.
More information, including checklists and a family emergency plan, can be found at emergency.cdc.gov.
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