Disaster Kit Necessities

Posted: Saturday, March 04, 2000

Emergency experts recommend that disaster kits include the following:


At least a three-day supply per person. Each person will need approximately one gallon of water each day for drinking and for hygiene. If storing food that will need water for cooking, make sure to set aside extra.

Adults can live for weeks without food, but water is far more important. It is better to store more water and less food than vice versa.

Water should be kept tightly sealed in shatterproof containers. While federal agencies recommend changing water every six months, borough emergency management coordinator John Alcantra said the peninsula's water will keep indefinitely without any harmful effects.

Holle said it is possible for water stored for long periods of time to taste "stale." Pouring the water back and forth between two cups a few times adds oxygen and eliminates the unpleasant taste.


Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables;

Canned juices, milk and soups;

Staples such as sugar, salt and pepper;

Light, high energy foods like peanut butter, crackers, jelly, granola, trail mix and energy bars;

Comfort foods, including instant coffee, tea bags, cookies, candy bars, hard candies, lollipops and other sweet or favored items.

Tools and utensils

Manual can opener;

Utility knife;

Paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils;

Sturdy tape;


Battery-operated radio;

Spare batteries;

Aluminum foil, plastic storage containers;



Matches in a waterproof case;

Fire extinguisher;

Needles and thread;

Paper and pencil;


Safety whistle;

Tube tent;


Work gloves;

Extra set of car and house keys;

Cash or travelers checks and change;

List of emergency contact numbers;

List of family doctors and important medical information (allergies, chronic conditions, etc.).


Soap, liquid detergent;

Toilet paper and moist towelettes;

Disinfectant or household bleach;

Toothbrushes and toothpaste;

Comb, hairbrush;

Feminine hygiene supplies;

Plastic garbage bags and ties for waste disposal;

Plastic bucket with a tight lid.


(needed for evacuation)

Rain gear;

At least one change of clothes per person, updated as seasons change;

A pillow and blanket or sleeping bag for each person;

Sturdy shoes or work boots.


Important family documents and other irreplaceable valuables should be stored in a locked, fire-proof, water-proof container.

Insurance policies;


Financial information, including credit card and bank account numbers;

Stocks and bonds;



Social Security cards;

Birth, marriage and death certificates;

Immunization records;

Inventory of valuable household items;

Family photos.

Central Emergency Ser-vices Chief Len Malmquist said several national surveys of disaster survivors have been conducted. The thing most people wished they had had a chance to save was family pictures.

"Disaster kits should have things (people) consider irreplaceable and important," he said.

First Aid Kit

Holle said, in addition to a fully-stocked first aid kit, it is also important for at least one family member to be trained in first aid and CPR, because the hospital and emergency medical teams will be overwhelmed.

"I would advise at least one adult in the family be CPR and first aid trained," she said. "Even if it's a teen-ager."

Holle said complete kits are available at variety stores and from the Red Cross office, although putting one together is not difficult.

One should be kept in each car as well as in the home, and should include:

Sterile adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes;

4-6 2-inch sterile gauze pads;

4-6 4-inch sterile gauze pads;

Hypoallergenic adhesive tape;

3 triangular bandages;




Moist towelettes;



2 tongue depressors;

Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant;

Assorted sizes of safety pins;


2 pairs of latex gloves;


Prescription drugs used frequently;

Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever;

Anti-diarrhea medication;



Syrup of Ipecac (in case instructed to induce vomiting);

Activated charcoal (for use if advised by Poison Control Center).

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