What Supplies Do I Need?
Preparing for an Emergency: What Supplies Do I Need?
Emergency management leaders throughout the region say that every household in the Baltimore region should have supplies to last for 72 hours after a disaster. Begin by purchasing the supplies that are most important.
The Three Essentials
You should be ready to manage the most common crises affecting our region – weather-related power and water outages – if you have certain basic supplies. Buy these three essentials first:
- A battery-powered radio with extra batteries. If the power goes out, a battery-powered radio is the only way to receive information.
- Flashlights or battery-powered lanterns with extra batteries. These are essential even during relatively brief power outages. (Don't use candles! They pose a serious fire risk.)
Water to last three days. That’s at least one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Mark the date on the container, and replace it every six months.
Next On The List
Once you have the three essentials, add to your kit by purchasing an item or two every week during trips to grocery and home supply stores.
These items should rank high on your priority list:
- Enough non-perishable food to last for three days. Good choices include canned meats, fruits and vegetables; peanut butter; crackers; cookies; and canned or boxed juices. Don’t forget to stockpile extra baby food and formula if you have an infant or toddler.
- A manual can opener. You can’t open canned foods without one.
- A first aid kit. The kit should include sterile gauze and bandages, safety pins, tweezers, a needle, scissors, antiseptic ointment, petroleum jelly and sunscreen.
A waterproof, portable container for important papers.
Other Useful Supplies
Once you have the most important supplies, continue to build your inventory of emergency tools. Make a master checklist and buy an item or two each week.
After you have collected the basics at home, construct a similar, smaller supply kit for your car in case you need to leave home or are caught away from home during an emergency. Make sure you carry jumper cables and tire chains or traction mats.
A 7-Week Plan
You may want to consider this plan, developed by Baltimore County, for building a complete preparedness kit by purchasing a few items every week for seven weeks.
For more information:
Laura Van Wert, firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-732-9564.