Disaster Supplies Kit
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Landslides and debris flow
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies
Radiological dispersion device events
Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Finding shelter is vital in times of disaster. Sheltering
outside the hazard area is apt when disaster strikes. This
would include staying with loved ones, commercial lodging or
staying in a mass facility.
You must consider the hazard and then choose a safe place
for that hazard. Because the safest locations for shelter
vary by hazard, sheltering is discussed in the specific
sections about hazards.
Even though mass shelters may provide water, food, medicine
and basic sanitary facilities, you need to take your
disaster supplies kit with you so you will have your
specific supplies. Keep in mind that alcohol and weapons are
prohibited in emergency shelters and smoking is restricted.
The length of time you are required to shelter may be short
or long, depending on the hazard. It is imperative that you
stay in shelter until local authorities say you can leave.
How do I Manage Water?
Allow people to drink according to their needs. Many people
need more than the average of one-half gallon per day. The
amount needed depends on age, physical activity, physical
condition and time of year
Never ration water unless ordered to do so by authorities.
Drink the amount you need daily. A person should never drink
less than four cups of water each day. You can minimize the
amount of water needed by reducing activity and staying
Drink water that you know is not contaminated first
Do not drink carbonated beverages instead of water.
Carbonated beverages do not meet water requirements.
Caffeinated drinks and alcohol actually dehydrate the body
You will need to protect the water sources already in your
home from contamination if you hear reports of broken water
or sewage lines. To close the incoming water source, locate
the incoming valve and turn it to the closed position. Be
sure all family members know how to perform this important
To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by
turning on the faucet in your home at the highest level.
Obtain water from the lowest faucet in the home
To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the
electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom
of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the
water intake valve at the tank and turning on the hot water
faucet. Refill the tank before turning the gas or
electricity back on.
What are Water Sources?
Melted ice cubes
Water drained from the water heater
Liquids from canned goods such as fruit or vegetable juices
Water drained from pipes
Hot water boilers (home heating system)
Water from the toilet bowl or flush tank
Swimming pools and spas—these are possible to use for
What is Water Treatment?
Treat all uncertain water before using it for drinking, food
preparation, washing dishes or brushing teeth. Contaminated
water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as
dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.
There is no one way to treat water the most effectively. The
best solution is to use more than one procedure as discussed
below. Before treating, strain any suspended particles
through coffee filters or layers of clean cloth.
Make sure you have the necessary materials in your disaster
supplies kit for the chosen water treatment methods.
There are three water treatment methods. They are as
Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large
pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 full
minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let
the water cool before drinking.
Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into
it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean
containers. This also will improve the taste of stored
You can use household liquid bleach to kill micro organisms.
Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25
to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented
bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added
cleaners. Use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.
Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir, and let
stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach
odor. If it doesn’t, repeat the dosage and let stand 15
minutes. If it still does not smell of chlorine, discard it
for another source of water.
Distillation will remove microbes that resist boiling and
chlorination, as well as heavy metals, salts and most other
Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting only
the vapor that condenses. The condensed vapor will not
include most impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with
water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot lid so that the
cup will dangle right-side-up when the lid is upside-down
(make sure the cup is not in the water) and boil for 20
minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is
How do I Manage Food Supplies?
Safety and Sanitation
Keep food in covered containers
Keep cooking and eating utensils clean
Keep garbage in closed containers and dispose outside,
burying garbage if necessary
Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap
and water that has been boiled or disinfected
Use only prepared canned baby formula for infants
Discard any food that has come into contact with
Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two
hours or more
Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture
Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded
Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal
Use powdered formulas with treated water
Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation
Note: Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still
refrigerator cold. When in doubt, throw it out.
Alternative cooking sources in times of emergency include
candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace
Charcoal grills and camp stoves should be used outdoors only
Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without
To heat food in a can:
Remove the label
Thoroughly wash and disinfect the can
Open the can before heating
How do I Manage without Power?
Look for alternate storage space for your perishable food.
Use dry ice. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a
10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use dry,
heavy gloves to avoid injury.