NEWS | May 30, 2012

Build a Kit

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a disaster supply kit is a simple collection of basic household items that may be needed in case of an emergency like a hurricane, flood or tornado.

FEMA recommends assembling emergency kits well in advance of impending weather, so they are prepared instead of searching for supplies after the storm.

After an emergency, many people may need to survive on their own, which means that they must have enough food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. The kit should be customized to meet specific needs such as medications and infant formula. It should also include important family documents. Although local officials and relief workers will be on scene after a disaster, they cannot reach everyone immediately. It may take only a few hours to receive help, but for some it may take days until they are reached.

Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage and telephones may be unavailable even longer, so supply kits should contain items to help manage during these outages.

According to FEMA, a supply list should have:

· One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation
· Non-perishable food; at least a three-day supply
· Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· First-aid kit
· Whistle to signal for help
· Filter mask or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
· Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
· Important family documents
· Items for unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers
· Cell phone and charger/car charger
· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

FEMA also recommends that families consider putting the following into their supply kit:

· Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov
· Rain gear
· Mess Kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
· Cash or traveler's checks, change
· Paper towels
· Fire extinguisher
· Tent
· Compass
· Matches in a waterproof container
· Signal flare
· Paper, pencil
· Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
· Medicine dropper
And if there is colder weather to consider, FEMA recommends adding one complete change of warm clothing and shoes for each person.

FEMA has a website dedicated to providing disaster information to the public. Visit www.ready.gov for a full list of emergency supplies and how to make a disaster plan. For other hurricane information visit http://www.charlestoncounty.org/.