Emergency Supply Kit

Planning for Disaster - Building Your Emergency Supply Kit


As past events clearly illustrate, even if the event happens a thousand miles away, disaster impact can be widespread. The largest blackout in the history of North America caused widespread inconvenience to millions. For a couple of days major cities were thrown back to the dark ages. Things that we take for granted didn’t work. Elevators stopped; water supplies didn’t flow; cell phones didn’t always work; people couldn’t tell what was going on if the TV and radio were dead. People had to fend for themselves. If the Midwest were in the blackout, would you have been prepared?

It is suggested that each home and apartment have an emergency supply kit. This doesn’t have to be some store bought, freeze dried meal equipped, end of the world bomb shelter. But it should be something to keep you safe, hydrated and fed for 72 hours. That is the estimated time from the onset of disaster to the time major assistance could be in place. While the village emergency services are there to assist in time of need, they cannot stockpile enough supplies to outfit an entire community.

The following supplies should be kept in a closet or storage area and should not be used for routine daily use. (Remember, the emergency radio will not be useful if its batteries were taken out to use in the Gameboy six months earlier):

A) A battery powered radio and flashlight along with extra batteries for each.

B) Bottled drinking water – 3 gallons per person in your household. (One gallon per person per day for a three (3) day period is the minimum recommended amount)

C) As much drinkable liquid (fruit & vegetable juice, soft drinks) as can be carried. (Alcoholic beverages are not recommended as they can impair judgement and lead to increased thirst and dehydration)

D) Canned or sealed package food that does not require cooking. Don't forget a manual can opener. Box cereal can be eaten dry. Canned fruits and vegetables are options as well. Don't store something that you wouldn't want to eat without heating and/or mixing with water.

E) A small first-aid kit and manual.

F) A blanket or sleeping bag for each member of the household. Remember, power outages affect the furnace and they happen in the dead of winter.

Water and foodstuffs should be rotated before they expire. A good rule is when you change your clocks. Replace the items and use the older products. If they are not expired, they are still usable.

This is just a start. There are other things that you might want to gather. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has a website with further suggestions and can be found here.