The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season started June 1, and although it has been a quiet season so far, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County wants to make sure families are prepared. To assist, here are some tips on what supplies to gather for an emergency supply kit.
According to the DOH, an emergency supply kit for your home or an evacuation should include items from six basic areas: water, food, first-aid supplies and medications, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and important family documents.
It is important to assemble the kit before the emergency strikes. Keep loose items in airtight plastic bags. Gather the items in easy-to-carry containers or duffle bags and keep the kit within reach of the most regularly used exit in the house.
Check and update your kit and family needs at least once a year.
WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES
A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water daily. Heat and intense activity can double this amount. Children, nursing mothers and those with special needs might require more.
Food preparation and sanitation require another two quarts (minimum) per person daily.
Purchased bottled water that has been sealed is best for storage. It meets FDA guidelines for food, is not as vulnerable to temperature changes as unsealed water and has no shelf life. (Some bottles do have expiration dates, but this is mainly for inventory control.) If for any reason you must disinfect water, use unscented bleach in the ratio of eight drops per gallon, about one-eighth teaspoon, and let the mixture sit 30 minutes before use.
Choose compact, lightweight foods that do not require refrigeration, cooking or preparation and foods that use little or no water.
Hand washing with soap and water is extremely important. However, in the event water for hand washing is unavailable, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
DOH recommends at least a seven-day supply of food and water in the kit, including:
• One gallon of water per person per day
• Ready-to-eat canned foods, fruits and vegetables
• Staples (such as salt, sugar, pepper and spices)
• Powdered milk and canned juices
• High-energy snacks, non-perishables (protein or fruit bars, nuts, crackers, whole grains)
• Food for infants and individuals with special needs
• Comfort/stress foods
• Pedialyte (to restore hydration if needed)
• Mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
• Non-electric can opener, cooking tools, utility knife
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
For tools and emergency supplies, DOH recommends:
• Cash or traveler’s checks, coins
• Map of the area for locating shelters, local maps
• Extra set of car keys and house keys
• Battery-operated radio and flashlight, extra batteries
• Cell phone with chargers
• Fire extinguisher
• Pliers or wrench to turn off household water and/or gas
• Compass, signal flare, whistle and tube tent
• Plastic sheeting, storage containers and bucket with tight lid
• Garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
• Tape (duct, masking)
• Candles and matches in a waterproof container
• Paper, pencil
• Needles, thread
• Medicine dropper
• Aluminum foil
• Toilet paper, moistened towelettes and towels
• Soap, liquid detergent, disinfectant and unscented household chlorine bleach
• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
• Infant supplies (diapers, bottles and pacifiers)
CLOTHING AND BEDDING
For clothing and bedding supplies, DOH recommends:
• At least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person
• Sturdy shoes, work boots, hats and gloves
• A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
• Rain gear
DOH recommends having first aid kits for your home and cars, including:
•A three-day supply of each person’s vital medications
• Prescription drugs in original packaging (bottles)
• Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
• 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4–6)
• 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
• Triangular bandages (3)
• Latex gloves (at least 2 pairs)
• Cleansing agent, soap and moistened towelettes
• Antiseptic and antibiotic ointment
• Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
• Assorted sizes of safety pins
• Scissors, tweezers, needle and thermometer
• Tongue depressors (2)
• Non-prescription drugs
• Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
• Anti-diarrhea medication, antacid and laxative
• Mosquito repellent, with DEET when appropriate
• Extra prescription glasses, sunglasses and/or contact lenses
• Hearing aid and batteries
• Personal items required to perform basic daily functions
DOH recommends copies of the following important family documents are kept in a waterproof, portable container within kits:
• Insurance policies
• Contracts and deeds
• Stocks and bonds
• Social Security cards and passports
• Immunization records and prescriptions
• Bank account numbers
• Credit card account numbers and company names and telephone numbers
• Inventory of valuable household goods
• Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates) and wills
• Current photographs of family members.
For further information, visit: floridahealth.gov/index.html for the Florida Emergency Preparedness Guide, floridadisaster.org/Kit or floridadisaster.org/.