National Preparedness Month (NPM) is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
Each week in September, Habitat Oregon will focus on a different aspect of preparedness for individuals, families and communities.
Week 2: Build a kit
A disaster survival kit includes supplies your family might need to survive in the event of a disaster. It should be easy to carry and can be used at home or taken with you in case you must evacuate during an emergency.
You can purchase a pre-assembled emergency kit or create your own. Be sure your kit is prepared well before a disaster strikes, and check your supplies every three months. When assembling your own disaster supply kit, keep the following in mind.
Additional considerations for COVID-19
- Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water and medicine supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies. But, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
- Limit in-person visits to the pharmacy. Manage prescriptions by signing up for mail-order delivery or call in your prescription ahead of time and use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, if available. Order as large a supply of your maintenance medications as allowable. This limits trips to the pharmacy and ensures an adequate supply should you need to evacuate or shelter in place for an extended period.
- If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap and two cloth face coverings for each person. Face covers should not be used by children under the age of 2 or by people having trouble breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Water — one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.
- Food — at least a three-day supply of nonperishable items.
- Blankets/sleeping bags/pillows/towels.
- Closed-toe, sturdy shoes.
- Jacket or coat.
- NOAA weather radio or other battery-powered radio.
- Extra batteries
- Important documents — copies of insurance policies, identification, bank account records and emergency medical information — stored in a waterproof and portable container.
- Prescription medication.
- Extra cash.
- Dust masks to help filter contaminated air.
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place.
- Garbage bags.
- Basic tools such as a wrench, pliers and screwdriver.
- Manual can opener.
- Local maps.
- Cell phone and charger.
- Personal hygiene items and feminine supplies.
- First aid kit:
- Two pairs of latex or other sterile gloves
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
- Soap and antibiotic towelettes.
- Antibiotic and burn ointments.
- Bandages in a variety of sizes.
- Eyewash solution.
- Aspirin or other pain relievers.
- Anti-diarrhea medication.
- Scissors and tweezers.
- Prescription medications and medical supplies.
- Paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.
- Extra clothes that can be washed by hand and hang dry.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine droppers.
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
- Baby supplies — bottles, formula and diapers.
- Medical supplies — oxygen, catheters, wheelchairs, hearing aid batteries, etc.
- Two-way radios.
- Rain gear.
For your pet
- Photocopies of medical records and photos of your pets for identification purposes.
- Feeding dishes and at least a three-day supply of food and water.
- Disposable litter trays and litter.
- Extra collar or harness and leash.
- Blanket and toys.
- Sturdy pet carrier.
- Important information and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian.
- American Red Cross: Pet diaster preparedness and supplies and products
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Disaster preparedness for pets
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Step-by-step actions to prepare for an emergency
- Ready Campaign: Make a plan
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Emergency preparedness and response
- QuakeKare: Emergency supply kits
- Weather Underground: Disaster supply kit