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Be Ready! Prepare Your 72-Hour Disaster Supplies Kit

By Lindsay Wochnick

After a major disaster strikes your community, access to food, water or electricity may be unavailable for some time. It’s important to take time now and prepare an emergency water supplies, food supplies and disaster supplies kit that enables you and your family to be self-sufficient for at least seven days. However, recent updates suggest that a minimum of seven days of supplies be prepared.

The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) and the Portland Water Bureau recommend that people create and tailor an emergency supply kit that meets the unique needs of your family. Consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in the workplace, vehicle, or other places you spend time.

Following is a list developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of some basic items that every emergency supply kit should include. 

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least seven days is recommended, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a seven-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change (confirm traveler’s checks have no restrictions)
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners
  • Fire Extinguisher (make sure extinguisher is current, expired units may not work correctly)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencils
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Remember, having a basic kit on hand to sustain yourself and your family after an emergency is an essential part of preparation.

For additional information on assembling an emergency kit, visit PBEM's website and GET PREPARED!

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information 

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