Build a Kit
Home Emergency Kit
Due to overwhelming need or no road access, you may be on your own for several days, and possibly without utilities, after a disaster. Your home emergency kit should contain supplies to sustain you and your family for at least three days.
Keep your supplies together in a single location, like a closet, shed, or in the garage. If you live in an apartment or have limited space, be innovative. Possible storage locations include under a bed, under stairways, or even using a large box that can be covered with a tablecloth and used as an end table. Start with what you already have on hand. If you are a camper or backpacker, that gear can double as your emergency supplies. Stock food items that you use, rotate them from your emergency supplies to your pantry, and replenish your emergency supplies with purchased items.
Necessary emergency items include:
- A copy of important documents and phone numbers (hard copies or electronically stored on a thumb drive or CD)
- A local map
- Batteries for radio, flashlights, and other battery-operated items in your kit
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Cash in small denominations and coins
- Dust masks
- Essential medications
- Extra clothes, hats, and rain gear
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aids, or other personal items
- First aid kit
- Heavy gloves
- Manual can opener
- Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, and soap
- Plastic sheeting, tarps, duct tape, and a utility knife for covering broken windows and holes in roofs
- Radio (battery-operated or manual)
- Unscented liquid household bleach for water purification
- Utility shut-off tools
- Sturdy shoes
If you need to leave your home, it will be important that you are ready to go as quickly as possible. Having a go bag in an accessible place ensures that you and your family are prepared for whatever situation arises.
Go Bag Guidelines
- Each member of your household should have his or her own go bag.
- Go bags should be easy to carry and sturdy.
- Go bags should be prepared for any time of the year.
- Go bags should be stored in an easily accessible location.
- Go bags should be updated every six months.
- Items to include in your Go Bag
Being Prepared After a Major Disaster
After a major disaster, if sewage and water lines have been cut off, you may need to improvise emergency sanitation facilities. For this reason it is important to always have basic sanitation supplies.
- Household chlorine bleach
- Plastic bucket with tight lid (medium sized)
- Plastic garbage bags and ties (heavy duty)
- Soap and/or liquid detergent
- Toilet Paper Towelettes
- Additional sanitation suggestions.
The Twin-Bucket Emergency Toilet
A Household Toilet for Oregon Emergency Kits
Why do we need toilets in our emergency kits?
In the event of an emergency we must be prepared if there is damage to the water and sewer systems that prevents them from working properly.
You will need:
- Plastic buckets - 2 (5-6 gallon size) buckets for 3-4 people for 3 days; a dozen buckets for a month
- Lids for buckets A plastic seat that fits the buckets
- Carbon material to cover waste, a supply of sawdust, coffee husk chaff, finely shredded paper, or coil fiber. About a gallon per day.
Urine is generally clean and poses no health risk, unless a household member has a kidney infection or blood in their urine. With extra buckets and lids you can store urine until it can be used as fertilizer on land or disposed of down a street drain. However, solid waste contains most of the pathogens and needs to be treated or contained until treated. It takes a few weeks for three people to fill the bucket.
Using the Twin-Bucket Toilet
- Mark the twin buckets "pee" and "poo"
- Put buckets in a private space with carbon covering material nearby, along with a plastic scoop.
- Decide if you need to use the urine bucket or the solid waste bucket. The seat can be moved from one to the other.
- Try not to mix the two wastes. The urine is the component that produces the bad smell when the two mix.
- After using the urine bucket place the toilet paper in the solid waste bucket.
- After using the solid waste bucket, cover the surface with carbon material, this will help reduce smell and keep insects away. Cover both buckets with lids when finished using both.
Keep enough food on hand to sustain you and your family for a minimum of three days. Remember that you may not have access to electricity or refrigeration, and that water may be scarce.
- Cycle food as used in the house.
- Food should require very little preparation - try to avoid things that need cooking.
- Include the following types of foods:
- Dried foods
- High-energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, and trail mix
- Instant ready-to-eat meals
- Ready-to-eat canned foods, such as meat, fruits, vegetables, soup, juice, and powdered or evaporated milk
- Small amounts of comfort foods, such as candy, sweetened cereals, potato chips, and cookies
- Keep in mind food allergies of family members when selecting food items.
- Make sure you use food your family will eat.
- Remember to include a manual can opener and utensils in your emergency supplies.
- Watch your salt content - salty foods make you drink more water.
Food and Water Supplies - American Red Cross
During an emergency, the water supply may be compromised or become contaminated. It is important to make sure you have at least a 3 day supply of water for everyone in your household.
- Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day (at least 3 gallons per person total) in an easily-accessible, cool, dark place.
- Rotate your water supply every 6 months unless it is specially designated emergency water (shelf life).
- Water should be stored in tightly sealed plastic containers labeled with the date they will expire (6 months after storage).
- Keep a small bottle of unscented liquid bleach for purifying water.
- Your hot water heater can be an additional source of drinking water.
If you have concerns about the safety of your water supply, you can:
- Boil water for at least 5 minutes at a rapid boil and let it cool before using.
- Add 8 drops of unscented liquid bleach per gallon of water and shake or stir. Let it stand for 30 minutes before using. A light chlorine smell and taste is normal.
It is essential to good health to stay clean. Keep your hands, body, and cooking and eating utensils clean. Consuming contaminated food and water can cause diarrhea, poisoning, and intestinal disease.
- Keep all food in covered containers.
- Prepare only as much food as will be eaten at each meal.
- Use paper plates or eat from original food containers.
- Wash and peel all vegetables and fruits.
Controlling Insects & Rodents
To help control insects and rodents, keep your living space clear of garbage, debris, refuse, and body wastes and repair holes when possible to keep rodents out. Remember that household insecticides will also work in small and enclosed areas.