Home Disaster Preparedness

The first 72 hours after a natural disaster (earthquake, flood, fire, storm) are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments will be busy handling serious crises. Be prepared to be self-sufficient (able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones) for at least 3 days following a natural disaster. To do so, keep on hand in a central location the following:
  • Food: Enough for 72 hours - preferably a week - consisting of packaged, canned, no-cooking-required types.
  • Water: Enough so each person has a gallon a day for 72 hours, preferably one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach (8 drops per gallon) to purify water if necessary.
  • First Aid Kit: Make sure it is well stocked, especially with bandages and disinfectants.
  • Fire extinguishers: A fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all family members how to use it.
  • Flashlights with extra batteries: Keep flashlights beside beds and in several other locations. Do not use matches or candles after an earthquake until you are certain there are no gas leaks.
  • Portable Radio with extra batteries: Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio will be the best source of information.
  • Store extra blankets, clothing, shoes and money: Access to a bank or ATM may not be available for several days. Make sure to have enough blankets, clothing and shoes to keep warm if the home's heater becomes non-functional.
  • Alternative cooking sources: Store a barbeque or camping stove for outdoor camping. Caution: Ensure there are no gas leaks before using any kind of fire as a cooking source and do not use charcoal indoors.
  • Special Items: Have at least a week's supply of medications and food for infants and those with special needs. Include essential medications and spare eyeglasses. Don't forget pet food and water.
  • Tools: Have an adjustable or pipe wrench for turning off gas and water. Screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, shovel and axe will cover a wide range of needs.
  • Sanitation Supplies: Large plastic trash bags for trash, waste and water protection; bar soap, liquid detergent and bleach; toothpaste and brushes, feminine and infant supplies; toilet paper; and newspaper to wrap garbage and waste.