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American Red Cross - Northwest Louisiana Chapter  
Disaster Supplies Kit

 Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. Help could be hours or even days reaching you. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives? One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit.

There are six basics you should stock in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container, such as a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack or a duffel bag.

    Water: Store in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. Store one gallon of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and sanitation purposes. Keep at least a three-day supply for each person in your household.
    Food: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Some examples of good foods: canned fruits and vegetables, canned juices, staple items (sugar, salt, pepper), high energy foods (peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix), vitamins, comfort! stress foods (cookies, hard candy, instant coffee), special diet items (for infants, elderly or special need individuals.)
    First Aid Kit: Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. The American Red Cross offers ready-to-go first aid kits that will work in almost any situation, as well as training in basic first aid for most situations. A first aid kit should include: sterile bandages and pads, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, needle, antiseptic, thermometer, lubricant, cleaning agent! soap, latex gloves (2 pairs), sunscreen, aspirin or non aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medicine, antacid, Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center), laxative, activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center), and other items.
    Tools & Supplies: Paper cups, plates and plastic eating utensils, battery operated radio and extra batteries, flashlight and extra batteries, cash or traveler's check and change, non- electric can opener, utility knife, toilet paper, soap, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, disinfectant and bleach are all good items to have.
    Clothing & Bedding: Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person. Include also rain gear and blankets or sleeping bags.
    Special Items: Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled people. Be sure to include any medications anyone in the family is taking. For a baby, also include formula, diapers, bottles and powdered milk. For adults include denture needs, contact lenses and supplies or extra eye glasses. Include entertainment for the whole family, such as games and books. And don't forger your important family documents such as your will, insurance policies, deeds, stocks and bonds, passports, social security cards, immunization records, bank account and credit card numbers, inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers (particularly to emergency services such as Poison Control), and family records (birth, marriage and death certificates.) Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
For all of these categories, you should personalize your Disaster Supplies Kit to meet your own needs and interests. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothing, etc. Keeping your family safe is your number one priority. And the key to safety is being prepared.


Before Lightning Strikes...

    • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
    • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.
    • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for the latest forecasts.
When a Storm Approaches...
    • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances and avoid using them or the telephone.
    • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
    • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
    • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

If Caught Outside... 

    • If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
    • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.

Protecting Yourself Outside... 

    • Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects.
    • Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
Be a Very Small Target... 
    • Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. 
    • Make yourself the smallest target, with as little of you touching the ground, as possible.
    • Do not lie flat on the ground -- this will make you a larger target.

If Someone is Struck By Lightning... 

    • People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
    • Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1.
    • The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.
    • Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. To become trained in first aid and CPR, check our community courses or call the Red Cross, (318) 865-9545.

Prepare a Tornado Family Disaster Plan.
Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement, a central, interior hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered, If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building. If you are in a mobile home, get out of it and go to the nearest sturdy building.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.

Conduct periodic tornado drills so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado approaches.

Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for storm warnings.
Know what storm WATCHES and WARNINGS mean: 
A WATCH means a storm is possible in your area.
A WARNING means a storm has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.

When a tornado WARNING is issued...

    • If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
    • If you are outside, hurry to a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
    • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as above.)

After the tornado passes... 

    • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged areas.
    • Listen for information and instructions.
    • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
    • Do not use candles at any time.
Make Your Home Fire Safe...
    • Smoke detectors save lives. Install a battery-powered detector on each level of your home, as well as in the garage.
    • Check each smoke detector at least twice a year. Replace the batteries once a year.
    • Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
    • Check for home fire hazards and fix them.

Plan Your Escape Routes...

    • Determine at least two ways to escape from every room in your home.
    • Make or purchase rope or chain ladders to use to climb out of rooms above the first floor, and practice using it.
    • Select a location where everyone would meet after escaping your home.
    • Discuss what you would do about family pets if you need to escape from a fire.
Conduct Periodic Fire Drills...
    • Remember: crawl low under the smoke to escape. Teach small children how to do this and have everyone practice their escape routes with their eyes closed to simulate smoke visibility.
    • Close the door as you leave a room and feel closed doors before you enter a room. A hot door probably means the room on the other side is in flames.
    • Practice the stop-drop-and-roll way to put out flaming clothing.
    • Get everyone out quickly. Escape first, then call the fire department.
    • Have a central area where everyone should meet after escaping the house. This way, everyone is accounted for and safe.