The basics of survival, water, food and clean air are essential, but some of the following items may make a time of crisis more comfortable.
- Battery powered radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Map of the area for evacuation or for locating shelters
- Moist towelettes
- Plastic garbage bags, ties and toilet paper for personal sanitation
- A whistle to signal for help
Clothing & Bedding
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies once a year to account for growing children and other family changes.
Have at least one complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person including:
- A hat and gloves
- A jacket or coat
- Long pants
- A long sleeve shirt
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Sturdy shoes
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or a print out of this information:
- Aluminum foil
- Cash or traveler's checks, change
- Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Medicine dropper
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Non-electric can opener / utility knife
- Paper towels
- Paper, pencil
- Plastic storage containers
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Signal flare
- Tube tent
- Feminine supplies
- Household chlorine bleach
- Personal hygiene items
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Toilet paper, towelettes
You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Important Family Documents
Keep copies of important family records such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
Each family member must know what to do in the event of a fire in their home. Unless a small fire can be easily controlled, it is recommended that fighting the fire be left to professional firefighters and that family members escape safely from the home.
A home escape plan must be created and practiced so that each person knows exactly what to do. It also is important to practice Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH).
Most residential fires occur between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Deaths from residential fires occur in greater numbers between midnight and 4 a.m. when most people are asleep. An average of 800 fires strike residential buildings each day in the United States.
More than 6,500 persons die each year from fire, more than half of them children and senior citizens. The majority of these deaths are in home fires.
Benefits of an Evacuation Plan
Regardless of the cause of the fire, a home may be filled with smoke. This is a very dangerous situation. Family members may be unable to see very well.
The smoke and toxic gases may cause dizziness and disorientation. In the confusion, one can easily become lost or trapped in the home. Family members must understand that their safety depends upon quickly leaving the home.
It has been proven that exit drills reduce chances of panic and injury in fires and that trained and informed people have a much better chance to survive fires in their home.
Maintenance & Care
While more than 90% of American homes have smoke alarms, nearly one-third of those alarms don't work. Non-working smoke alarms rob a home's occupants of all the protective benefits that house fire safety devices were designed to provide. Worn-out or missing batteries are the most common cited cause of non-working smoke alarms.
Changing smoke alarm batteries once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these fire deaths and injuries. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a house fire in half.