COVID-19 will be with us for some time, and it is forcing us to prepare differently for the natural disasters and emergencies that we traditionally face. Although difficult to comprehend, other hazards, like hurricanes and wildfires, can still strike.
Knowing what disasters can strike in your area and preparing for what to do before, during, and after each will help you stay safe, strengthen your adaptability, and have you bouncing back quickly. This guide will help you to plan.
Which disasters could I face?
Disasters, such as floods and fires, occur almost everywhere. Others, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, are more common in certain regions. To understand potential risks in your area:
- Use a tool such as the Red Cross interactive map to see what disasters are most likely in your area.
- Learn your community response plan for each disaster and determine if these plans are updated due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Meeting Basic Needs in a Disaster
Disasters can knock out power, block roads, disrupt emergency services, and cause stores and pharmacies to close. COVID-19 creates additional complexity. Preparing now so that you have the right plan and abilities to meet your basic needs is crucial.
Assemble Three Kits of Emergency Supplies
Start with the essentials then customize to meet your specific family needs. Be sure to add disinfectant and hygiene items such as soap and hand sanitizer to protect against Coronavirus. Some supplies can be hard to get, and access to them will only worsen in a disaster, so start gathering them now.
- Stay-at-home kit: Everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks. Include items such as food, water, disinfectant supplies for household cleaning, soap, personal hygiene, and paper products.
- Evacuation kit: Your second should be a smaller "go bag" that you can take with you in an emergency evacuation. Include smaller travel-sized amounts of food, water, cleaning and disinfectant supplies, and personal hygiene items. Make sure to include cloth face coverings, such as masks and scarves, for anyone in your house who can wear one, when possible, continue to keep 6 feet between yourself and others in public. Young children under age two should not use cloth face coverings; additionally, anyone who has trouble breathing, or cannot remove it without help.
- Medicine: In a separate container, keep a 1-month supply of prescription medication, and frequently used over the counter medications, such as fever reducers, cough suppressants or pain relievers. Consider a secondary First Aid Kit specifically for disaster situations. Keep these items together and accessible. These items will be used with your stay at home or your evacuation kit, depending on the disaster in your area.
Find Out About a Disaster Quickly
Ensure that you have access to weather alerts and other notifications. Make sure you can receive official notifications even during a power outage.
- Your community may offer free emergency alerting systems, be sure to sign up for those. Consider a battery-powered radio or walkie talkies with emergency alerting systems built-in.
- Know the different types of communications and how to act during each. A "watch" means to be ready to take action; a “warning” means to take immediate action.
- Consider COVID-19, stay up to date on restrictions from your state and local public health departments. It may have an impact on your actions or access to aid.
Access to your relevant documents will help you to start to recover right away. Safeguarding personal, medical, insurance, and other records are essential in a disaster situation.
TrekrTech Basic Disaster Supplies Kit List
When preparing your kit, store items in airtight plastic containers or bags, put your complete disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, like storage totes or duffel bags.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Local maps
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert like this one here
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Plastic Sheeting and duct tape
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Wrench or pliers (shutting off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Additional Emergency Supplies
Starting in Spring 2020, the CDC has recommended that people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu. Adding these additional items may be a good idea for you and your family. Always consider your individual needs when creating your emergency kit.
- Cloth face coverings, soap, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces, and hand sanitizer
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as anti-diarrhea medication, pain relievers, laxatives or antacids
- Prescription contacts, solutions or eyeglasses
- Bottles, diapers, infant formula, diaper rash cream, and wipes
- Food and water for your pet
- Traveler's checks or cash
- Family documents like insurance cards, identification, and bank account information stored electronically and backed up to the cloud or in a portable waterproof container
- A warm blanket or sleeping bags
- A full change of clothing and sturdy shoes
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Fire Extinguisher
- Feminine hygiene products
- Paper cups, mess kits, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Games, books, puzzles and other child activities
- Paper and pencil