Immediately after an
emergency, essential services may be cut-off and local disaster relief and
government responders may not be able to reach you right away. Even if they
could reach you, knowing what to do to protect yourself and your household is
This chapter describes how to prepare for any kind of disaster. It also provides specific information about emergency water and food, and a recommended disaster supply kit.
a disaster plan
One of the most important steps you
can take in preparing for emergencies is to develop a household disaster
1. Learn about the natural disasters
that could occur in your community from your local emergency management office
or American Red Cross chapter. Learn whether hazardous materials are produced,
stored or transported near your area. Learn about possible consequences of
deliberate acts of terror. Ask how to prepare for each potential emergency and
how to respond.
2. Talk with employers and school
officials about their emergency response plans.
3. Talk with your household about
potential emergencies and how to respond to each. Talk about what you would need
to do in an evacuation.
4. Plan how your household would stay
in contact if you were separated. Identify two meeting places: the first should
be near your home-in case of fire, perhaps a tree or a telephone pole; the
second should be away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return
5. Pick a friend or relative who lives
out of the area for household members to call to say they are okay.
6. Draw a floor plan of your home.
Mark two escape routes from each room.
7. Post emergency telephone numbers by
telephones. Teach children how and when to call 911.
8. Make sure everyone in your
household knows how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at the main
switches. Consult with your local utilities if you have questions.
9. Take a first aid and CPR class.
Local American Red Cross chapters can provide information. Official
certification by the American Red Cross provides "good Samaritan" law protection
for those giving first aid.
10.Reduce the economic impact of
disaster on your property and your household's health and financial
• Review property
insurance policies before disaster strikes-make sure policies are current and be
certain they meet your needs (type of coverage, amount of coverage, and hazard
• Protect your
household's financial well-being before a disaster strikes-review life insurance
policies and consider saving money in an "emergency" savings account that could
be used in any crisis. It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash or
traveler's checks at home in a safe place where you can quickly gain access to
it in case of an evacuation.
certain that health insurance policies are current and meet the needs of your
11.Consider ways to help neighbors
who may need special assistance, such as the elderly or
Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Service
animals for those
who depend on them are allowed.
If you have a disability or special
need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your
household in an emergency. If you know of friends or neighbors with special
needs, help them with these extra precautions. Examples include:
Hearing impaired may need to make special arrangements to receive a warning.
Mobility impaired may need assistance in getting to a shelter.
Households with a single working parent may need help from others both in
planning for disasters and during an emergency.
Non-English speaking people may need assistance planning for and responding to
emergencies. Community and cultural groups may be able to help keep these
People without vehicles may need to make arrangements for
People with special dietary needs should have an adequate emergency food supply.
1. Find out about special assistance that may be available in your community. Register with the office of emergency services or fire department for
2. Create a network of neighbors,
relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs
and make sure they know how to operate necessary equipment.
3. Discuss your needs with your
4. If you are mobility impaired and
live or work in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
5. If you live in an apartment
building, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly and to make
arrangements to help you evacuate the building.6. Keep extra wheelchair
batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for guide or hearing-ear dogs, or
other items you might need. Also, keep a list of the type and serial numbers of
medical devices you need.
7. Those who are not disabled
should learn who in their neighborhood or building is disabled so that they may
assist them during emergencies.
8. If you are a care-giver for a
person with special needs, make sure you have a plan to communicate if an
You may need to survive on your own
for three days or more. This means having your own water, food and emergency
supplies. Try using backpacks or duffel bags to keep the supplies together.
Assembling the supplies you might
need following a disaster is an important part of your disaster plan. You should
prepare emergency supplies for the following situations:
supply kit with essential food, water, and supplies for at least three days-this
kit should be kept in a designated place and be ready to "grab and go" in case
you have to leave your home quickly because of a disaster, such as a flash flood
or major chemical emergency. Make sure all household members know where the kit
· Consider having additional supplies for sheltering or home confinement for up to two weeks.
You should also
have a disaster supply kit at work. This should be in one container, ready to
"grab and go" in case you have to evacuate the building.
A car kit of
emergency supplies, including food and water, to keep stored in your car at all
times. This kit would also include flares, jumper cables, and seasonal
Water: the absolute necessity
1. Stocking water reserves should be a
top priority. Drinking water in emergency situations should not be rationed.
Therefore, it is critical to store adequate amounts of water for your
needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate. A
normally active person needs at least two quarts of water daily just for
drinking. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more. Very hot
temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
will also need water for sanitary purposes and, possibly, for cooking, you
should store at least one gallon of water per person per day.
2. Store water in thoroughly washed
plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Don't use containers that
can break, such as glass bottles. Never use a container that has held toxic
substances. Sound plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You
can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums.
· If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
· seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.
· It is important to change stored water every six months.
For water purification for
immediate or near term use, please read the "Shelter " chapter of this
1. If activity is reduced, healthy
people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period or
without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely,
except for children and pregnant women.
2. You don't need to go out and buy
unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned
foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. Canned foods do not
require cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can
3. Keep canned foods in a dry place
where the temperature is fairly cool. To protect boxed foods from pests and to
extend their shelf life, store the food in tightly closed plastic or metal
4. Replace items in your food supply
every six months. Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or
corroded. Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
Date each food item with a marker. Place new items at the back of the storage
area and older ones in front.
5. Food items that you might consider
including in your disaster supply kit include: ready-to-eat meats, fruits, and
vegetables; canned or boxed juices, milk, and soup; high-energy foods like
peanut butter, jelly, low-sodium crackers, granola bars, and trail mix;
vitamins; foods for infants or persons on special diets; cookies, hard candy;
instant coffee, cereals, and powdered milk.
You may need to survive on your own
after a disaster. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after
a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in
hours, or it may take days. Basic services, such as electricity, gas, water,
sewage treatment and telephones, may be cut off for days, even a week or longer.
Or you may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you.
You probably won't have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies
you'll need. Your household will cope best by preparing for disaster before it
The basics for
your first aid kit should include:
- First aid manual
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agents (isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide)/soap/germicide
- Antibiotic ointment
- Latex gloves (2 pairs)
- Petroleum jelly
- 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6 each size)
- Triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each)
- Cotton balls
- Moistened towelettes
- Tongue depressor blades (2)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
· It may be difficult to obtain prescription medications during a disaster because stores may be closed or supplies may be limited. Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
· Be sure they are stored to meet instructions on the label and be mindful of expirations dates--be sure to keep your stored medication up to date.
Extra pair of
prescription glasses or contact lens.
following nonprescription drugs in your disaster supply kit:
- Aspirin and nonaspirin pain reliever
- Antidiarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the poison control center)
Tools and emergency supplies
It will be important to assemble
these items in a disaster supply kit in case you have to leave your home
quickly. Even if you don't have to leave your home, if you lose power it will be
easier to have these item already assembled and in one place.
Tools and other
- A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries (also have a NOAA weather radio, if appropriate for your area)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Signal flare
- Matches in a waterproof container (or waterproof matches)
- Shut-off wrench, pliers, shovel and other tools
- Duct tape and scissors
- Plastic sheeting
- Small canister, A-B-C-type fire extinguisher
- Tube tent
- Work gloves
- Paper, pens, and pencils
- Needles and thread
- Battery-operated travel alarm clock
- Manual can opener
- Mess kits or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
- All-purpose knife
- Household liquid bleach to treat drinking water
- Sugar, salt, pepper
- Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
- Re-sealing plastic bags
- If food must be cooked, small cooking stove and a can of cooking fuel
· Sanitation and hygiene items:
- Washcloth and towel
- Towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent
- Tooth paste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorants, comb and brush, razor, shaving cream, lip balm,sunscreen, insect repellent, contact lens solutions, mirror, feminine supplies
- Heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and ties--for personal sanitation uses - and toilet paper
- Medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid
- Disinfectant and household chlorine bleach
- Consider including a small shovel for digging a latrine
documents and contact numbers:
- Personal identification, cash (including change) or traveler's checks, and a credit card
- Copies of important documents: birth certificate, marriage certificate, driver's license, social security cards, passport, wills, deeds, inventory of household goods, insurance papers, immunizations records, bank and credit card account numbers, stocks and bonds. Be sure to store these in a watertight container.
- Emergency contact list and phone numbers
- Map of the area and phone numbers of place you could go
- An extra set of car keys and house keys.
Clothes and bedding
change of clothing and footwear for each household member. Shoes should be
sturdy work shoes or boots. Rain gear, hat and gloves, extra socks, extra
underwear, thermal underwear, sunglasses.
Blankets or a
sleeping bag for each household member, pillows.
Remember to consider the needs of
infants, elderly persons, disabled persons, and pets and to include
entertainment and comfort items for children.
books, games, quiet toys and stuffed animals.
It is important for you to be ready, wherever you may be when disaster strikes.
With the checklists above
supply kit kept in the home with supplies for at least three days;
Although it is
unlikely that food supplies would be cut oft' for as long as two weeks, consider
storing additional water, food, clothing and bedding other supplies to expand
your supply kit to last up to two weeks.
A work place
disaster supply kit. It is important to store a personal supply of water and
food at work; you will not be able to rely on water fountains or coolers. Women
who wear high-heels should be sure to have comfortable flat shoes at their
workplace in case an evacuation require walking long distances.
A car disaster
supply kit. Keep a smaller disaster supply kit in the trunk of you car. If you
become stranded or are not able to return home, having these items will help you
be more comfortable until help arrives. Add items for sever winter weather
during months when heave snow or icy roads are possible-salt, sand, shovels, and
extra winter clothing, including hats and gloves.
County Office of Emergency Services - Sheriff|
Monday-Friday: (760) 878-0395 or (760) 878-0235
After hours/Weekends: (760) 878-0383
|Inyo County Office of Emergency Services - Administration|
Monday-Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): (760) 878-0120
Kelley Williams - Emergency Services Manager
Office of Emergency Services|
Department of Homeland Security|
Emergency Management Agency|
Disclaimer: The County of Inyo reserves the right to make changes and
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Copyright © 2001 County of Inyo
Last Updated: June 23, 2006