What To Do To Prepare For A Disaster

How do I prepare for a disaster?

This page describes how to prepare for any kind of disaster by making and using an Emergency Planning Checklist. It should include specific information about emergency water and food, and emergency supplies.

How do I begin to create an Emergency Planning Checklist?

  • Talk with your family about potential emergencies and how to respond to each. Talk about what you would need to do in an evacuation.
  • Plan how your family would stay in contact if you were separated from one another in a disaster. Identify two meeting places. The first should be a place near your home - in case of fire; perhaps a tree or a telephone pole; the second should be a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
  • Pick a friend or relative who lives out of the area for family members to call to say they are okay.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by telephones. Teach children how and when to call 911.
  • Show responsible persons in your household how and when to shut-off water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
  • Consider how you would help your neighbors who may need special assistance, such as the elderly or people with disabilities, in times of emergency.
  • Make arrangements for your pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters.

How do I select emergency supplies for the Checklist?

In a community disaster, you may need to be able to survive on your own for three days or more. This means having your own water, food and emergency supplies. The following checklists will help you assemble disaster supply kits for each member of your family.


Water: the absolute necessity.

Stocking water reserves should be a top priority. Store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.
A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts/toxic of water each day. Heat can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more. You will need additional water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least one gallon of water per person per day.
Never ration water, unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow.
Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Sound plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best.
Before storing water, treat it with a disinfectant, such as chlorine bleach, to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Use liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite and no soap. Some containers warn, "Not For Personal Use". You can disregard these warnings if the label states sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient and if you use only the small quantities mentioned in these instructions.
Add four drops of bleach per quart of water (or two scant teaspoons per 10 gallons), and stir. Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.


Food: preparing an emergency stockpile.

If activity is reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period or without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.
You don't need to go out and buy unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. Canned foods do not require cooking, water or special preparation.
Though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two weeks, you should prepare a supply that will last that long. A two-week supply can relieve a great deal of inconvenience and uncertainty until services are restored.
Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is fairly cool. To protect boxed foods from pests and to extend their shelf life, store the foods in tightly closed cans or metal containers.
Rotate your food supply. Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies. Date each food item with a marker.
The Emergency Checklist
  • Water, food and utensils. ◦Water - One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking, cooking, washing and sanitation.
    • Food - non-perishable, needing little or no cooking; high nutrition-type. Special dietary foods, if needed.
    • Eating and drinking utensils, non-breakable. Bottle and can openers.
    • Water purifying tablets, two percent tincture of iodine or household bleach (hypochlorite-type only).
    • Heating source, such as a camp stove or canned heat stove, and extra fuel.
  • Communication, lighting, safety.
    • Battery-operated radio.
    • Flashlights. Extra batteries. Lantern and fuel.
    • Fluorescent distress flag.
    • Matches (in waterproof container).
    • Citizen's band radio.
    • Fire extinguisher.
    • Work gloves. Shovel.
  • Clothing and bedding.
    • One complete change of clothing for each person, appropriate for season and weather conditions. Sturdy work clothes. Sturdy shoes. Extra socks. Extra underwear.
    • Outer-wear: rain gear, coats, jackets, boots, ponchos.
    • Pillows. Sleeping bag or two blankets per person.
  • Personal items.
    • Washcloth and small towel.
    • Reading and writing materials.
    • Sewing kit.
    • Soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant.
    • Small toys for children.
    • Hair care items.
    • Insect repellant and insecticide.
    • Contact lens solution.
    • Dentures.
    • Shaving kit.
    • Mirror.
    • Sanitary napkins and tampons.
  • Sanitary needs.
    • Paper towels and toilet paper.
    • Liquid detergent.
    • Disinfectant.
    • Garbage can or bucket with tight-fitting lid (for emergency toilet).
    • Plastic garbage bags (for lining toilet).
  • Baby supplies, if needed.
    • Clothes.
    • Diapers.
    • Milk or formula. Bottles and nipples. Food.
    • Powders, creams or ointments.
    • Small toys.
    • Sheets, blankets, rubber pads. Portable crib.
  • First aid supplies - Keep contents of first aid kit in a waterproof metal or plastic box. Keep medicines tightly capped. Check periodically and replace any medication which has passed its expiration date.
    • Adhesive tape rolls, two inches wide.
    • Applicator - sterile, cotton tips.
    • Antacid.
    • Antibiotic ointments.
    • Antiseptic solution.
    • Aspirin or aspirin substitute.
    • Baking soda.
    • Bandage - sterile roll, two inches wide.
    • Bandage - sterile roll, four inches wide.
    • Bandage - large triangular, 37 inches by 52 inches.
    • Bandages - plastic strips, assorted sizes.
    • Cotton balls.
    • Diarrhea medication.
    • Eye medication.
    • First aid handbook.
    • Hot water bag.
    • Icebag.
    • Iodine water purification tablets.
    • Isopropyl alcohol.
    • Laxatives.
    • Medical items such as spare eyeglasses, contact lens needs, hearing-aid batteries, etc.
    • Medical alert tags, if needed for epilepsy, drug allergies, etc.
    • Medicine dropper.
    • Motion sickness tablets for nausea.
    • Non-prescription medicines.
    • Nose drops (water soluble).
    • Petroleum jelly.
    • Plastic bags with fasteners.
    • Prescription medicines (insulin, heart pills, etc, as needed).
    • Safety pins - assorted sizes.
    • Scissors.
    • Smelling salts.
    • Antibacterial soap.
    • Splints-wooden, 18 inches long.
    • Table salt.
    • Toothache remedy.
    • Thermometer.
    • Tweezers.
  • Paper and valuables. ◦Social Security cards.
    • Birth certificates.
    • Marriage and death records.
    • Driver's license. 
    • Cash and credit cards.
    • Wills.
    • Insurance policies.
    • Deeds and mortgages.
    • Stocks and bonds.
    • Savings and checking account books.
    • Inventory of household goods (photos preferred).
    • Small valuables: cameras, watches, jewelry, etc.


 Presented by:

 City-Parish of Lafayette, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Lafayette, Louisiana