Natural disasters can strike at any time and can leave individuals and facilities without necessary supplies for days at a time. Disaster supply kits are an important and potentially lifesaving tool all buildings should be equipped with. These kits contain essential supplies that may prove invaluable after a disaster. A proper disaster supply kit can help survive these disasters and provide adequate relief until help arrives. A good disaster supply kit should contain enough of the following items for at least 3 days:
· Water: 1 gallon per person, per day
· Non-Perishable Food: Should be easy to prepare items, and easy to store items. These items include canned goods, freeze-dried food, and instant meals. Foods to avoid are things packaged in cardboard, which can easily degrade when wet and can attract bugs and mice.
· Extra Batteries
· Battery Powered Radio: A NOAA Weather Radio is best
· First Aid Kit
· Multipurpose Tool: The majority of these tools come with the same set of tools, but it is important to make sure the one you select has the essentials. These include can openers, bottle openers, and a serrated knife.
· Sanitation and Hygiene Products
· Matches in Waterproof Container
· Extra Clothing
· Emergency Contact Information
· Medications: This should include both general medications and any important prescription medication. If there are any medications an individual takes, insulin for diabetes for example, make sure you maintain at least a three day supply in case of disasters.
Working with Young Children
Youth serving organizations may require some more specific and specialized items in a disaster supply kit. Children and infants will be the most difficult to care for in the event of a disaster, which is why it is important to maintain a disaster supply kit with the necessary items to make sure they can be cared for. The items include:
· Baby Bottles
· Baby Formula: It is important to routinely check the expiration dates on any baby formula. Expired formula can be dangerous to infants and should be discarded and replaced with new formula.
· Extra Blankets
· Games and toys for children
Preparing for Disasters in Your Area
Some disasters may require different supplies than others, and depending on your area, the likelihood of certain types of disasters will vary. For example, organizations located in northern states are more likely to be struck by severe blizzards while organizations in the south are much more likely be struck by tornadoes. It is important to prepare for all types of disasters, but identifying the greatest risks can help design an effective kit. Some of these items include:
· Extra Blankets and Sleeping Bags
· Plastic Sheets: To help protect things from water damage in case of a flood
· NOAA Wether Radio: These radios are the best method of monitoring unpredictable stroms, especially tornadoes
Storing a Disaster Supply Kit
Another important aspect of creating a disaster supply kit is where to store and maintain it. A perfectly supplied disaster supply kit will be of no use if it becomes inaccessible or can’t be found when a disaster strikes. Make sure all employees know where the kit can be found and are familiar with the contents. It is best to store these kits in areas that are already designated for use during a disaster like tornado safety areas. Another important aspect of a disaster supply kit is to make sure it is in easy-to-carry container in case the disaster requires an evacuation of your facility.