The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water, and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire will be busy responding to the emergency. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient - able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones - for at least three days following a disaster. To do so, keep on hand in a central location the following:
- Food. Enough for 72 hours, preferably one week.
- Water. Enough so each person has a gallon a day for 3 days, preferably one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, eight drops per gallon, to purify water if necessary.
- First aid kit. Make sure it's well stocked, especially with bandages and antibiotics.
- Fire extinguisher. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all family members how to use it.
- Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights beside your bed and in several other locations. DO NOT use matches or candles after an earthquake until you are certain there are no gas leaks.
- Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio will be your best source of information.
- Extra blankets, clothing, shoes, and money.
- Alternate cooking sources. Store a barbeque or camping stove for outdoor campling. CAUTION: Ensure there are no gas leaks before you use any kind of fire for cooking and do not use charcoal indoors.
- Special items. Have at least a week's supply of medications and food for infants and those with special needs. Don't forget pet food.
- Tools. Have an adjustable or pipe wrench for turning off gas and water.
Remember, when putting your kit together, pack your supplies in an easy to carry container, like a backpack or duffel bag. Additionally, keep important family documents in a waterproof, portable container.
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