Pack an Emergency Kit
May 25th, 2017 by Lori Tobias

Personal and household emergency kits should contain supplies sufficient to last at least three to five days.

One of the most important aspects of disaster preparedness is an emergency kit. The Red Cross recommends having kits in the three places you most likely will be when disaster strikes: home, work and your car.

The kit should include 1 gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days or, if planning for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, two weeks.

“When we are talking about food for a preparedness kit, we’re talking items that don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked, such as peanut butter, energy bars, and canned fruits or vegetables,” says Monique Dugaw, spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Portland. “Don’t forget a can opener.”

A first aid kit is important.

“Depending on the type of disaster, you may not be able to get to medical care quickly,” Monique says. “We want people to be prepared to treat minor injuries themselves. A scrape left untreated could turn into an infection and a potentially much more serious condition than if treated.”

Other supplies include a battery-operated flashlight, a radio with extra batteries so people can get information from official sources rather than rumors, and any medication needed by family members.

Food, water and medications for pets also should be included.

Additional things to consider are a whistle, surgical masks, matches, work gloves, plastic sheeting, duct tape, scissors, household liquid bleach and entertainment items.

The Red Cross recommends keeping the emergency preparedness kit on the main level of the home so it can be grabbed quickly.

Keep camping supplies in a similar location, including a sleeping bag, tent and cooler. Some people opt to keep a kit outside of their home, such as in a storage unit.

How do you know when to stay or go?

“A general rule of thumb is to pay attention to what emergency officials are telling you,” says Monique. “If you are asked to evacuate, definitely do so. That’s another reason to have good access to a battery-operated radio so you can hear if there are evacuation orders.”

Download the free Red Cross app that provides information on weather alerts, local hazards and other resources, such as pet preparedness, first aid preparedness and tips.