Get prepared for disasters for TWO WEEKS by spreading out the cost and effort over 12 months!
- Month 1: Store two weeks of emergency water per person
Why? An earthquake can damage water systems.
- Get a gallon of water for each person in your home.
- Keep adding water each week until you have 14 gallons of water per person.
- Buy commercially bottled water or bottle your own.
- Store water around your home in places such as under sinks and in closets.
- Learn how to access water already stored in your home and how to properly store water. Read the Take 5 Emergency Water flyer.
- Months 2 and 3: Store two weeks of emergency food per person
Why? Stores may be closed after a disaster or shelves may be empty.
- Get enough food for a breakfast, lunch and dinner for each person in your home.
- Keep adding food each week until you have two weeks of food per person.
- Dry cereal
- Instant oatmeal
- Breakfast bars
- Canned fruits
- Protein bars
- Peanut butter
- Ramen noodles
- Canned non-perishable foods: soup, stew, chili
- Canned vegetables
- Freeze-dried foods
- Focus on long shelf-life items such as canned, dried, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
- Write expiration dates on foods and use or donate them before they expire.
- Get foods your family likes to eat and if needed, provide for special diets and baby foods.
- Get creative to find ways to stretch meals. Canned chicken broth and canned vegetables are an inexpensive way to stretch a can of chili or soup.
- To heat food or boil water, use a portable stove or BBQ grill outdoors. Learn how to use them safely. Get matches and extra fuel.
- Month 4: Get emergency medical supplies
Why? Medical supplies can save a life.
- Get a first aid kit. Tell everyone where it is kept.
- Refill prescriptions as quickly as insurance will allow. If possible, save a few pills each month and work toward a two-week emergency supply. Speak to your medical provider about getting emergency-use medications and supplies.
- Get copies of prescriptions, medical information and emergency-use medications. Place them inside a sealable bag and label it with your name and medication expiration dates. Make one for each person.
- Check medication expiration dates every year and use them before they expire.
- To save money, make your own first aid kit. Visit the Red Cross to learn more about Making a First Aid Kit.
- Month 5: Make an emergency toilet and get sanitation supplies
Why? After an earthquake toilets may not work for weeks or months.
- Make a twin-bucket emergency toilet: two 5-gallon buckets, label one “pee” and the other “poo.”
- Store extra plastic garbage bags, toilet paper, hand wipes, sanitizing hand gel and natural material such as wood shavings, ground dried leaves or shredded paper.
- Store twin bucket and hygiene supplies inside your buckets.
- Get toilet seats that are made to fit on a 5-gallon bucket.
- Learn more about disaster sanitation. Read the Take 5 Disaster Sanitation flyer.
- Month 6: Create a communication plan
Why? You might be separated from loved ones when a disaster strikes.
- Make a written list of phone numbers and emails of family, friends and neighbors, school and work. Include an out-of-state contact.
- Make copies of your list and share it with family and friends. Keep the list with you.
- In a disaster, phone lines may be busy. Texting often works when calling doesn’t. Calling someone out-of-state may work when local lines are busy.
- Add a charged battery bank to your emergency supplies and check it regularly.
- Be sure you can receive news and critical information. Get an AM/FM/NOAA weather radio.
- Learn more about creating a communications plan. Read the Take 5 Family Preparedness flyer.
- Month 7: Make a “go bag” for home, work and car
Why? You might not be home when a disaster or earthquake hits.
- Place three days of emergency supplies, food and water in a bag. Have a go bag for home, work, and your car.
- In your home go bag, add copies of important documents, photos and your contact lists.
- In your car or work go bag, add cash in small bills (ATMs may not work).
- In your car go bag, add work gloves, basic tools, rope and a flashlight.
- Headlamps leave your hands free to work.
- A backpack, shopping bag, duffle bag or a wheelie bag makes a great go bag.
- In your car go bag, add items for the seasons such as warm clothes and blankets for winter and sunscreen and extra water for summer.
- Learn more about emergency supplies and go bags. Read the Take 5 Emergency Supplies flyer.
- Month 8: Make a bedside nighttime safety kit
Why? To protect your head, hands, and feet from injury from glass and fallen objects if an earthquake occurs at night.
- Put a flashlight, sturdy shoes, work gloves, bike helmet or hardhat and a crow bar (to open stuck doors) in a bag or box under or near your bed.
- Attach the safety kit to the bed frame to keep it from moving during an earthquake.
- Month 9: Make your home safer for earthquakes
Why? Falling objects cause the most injuries during an earthquake.
- Secure heavy furniture, big TVs, computer monitors, and art to prevent falling or blocking exits.
- Secure cabinets with child safety locks so contents don’t fall and break.
- Secure breakables to shelves with museum putty.
- Strap water heater tank to wall studs.
- Locate and learn how to shut off utilities: electricity, water and natural gas.
- Place a gas shutoff tool or crescent wrench next to the gas meter so it can shut it off quickly. NOTE: Only turn off natural gas if you smell “rotten eggs,” see the meter running unusually fast or hear a hissing sound. NEVER turn the gas back on; it must be checked for leaks and can only be turned back on by a utility professional.
- Learn more about preparing your home. Read the Take 5 Home Preparedness flyer.
- Month 10: Include pets in your preparedness efforts
Why? Pets are family, too.
- Add two weeks of water, pet food and treats for each pet to your emergency supplies.
- Develop a buddy system with neighbors or friends to make sure someone is available to care for your pets if you can’t.
- Back up vaccination records and micro-chip information. Have paper copies and place digital copies on an online storage site or on a portable storage drive.
- Have photos of your pets that include you. They are helpful if your pets get lost.
- Be sure to microchip your pets and register with the manufacturer. Update the contact information each time it changes or you move. Microchip registrations expire.
- Learn more about preparing for pets. Read the Take 5 Pet Preparedness flyer.
- Month 11: Meet your neighbors and build community
Why? First responders may not be immediately available when disaster strikes.
- Get to know your neighbors by hosting a BBQ, block party, or game night. A strong social network will provide help during and after a disaster.
- Create a community contacts list including names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
- Find out about people’s skills that would be helpful in an emergency such as first aid or carpentry.
- If a disaster strikes, check on your friends and neighbors. Help however you can.
- Create a Facebook group with your friends and family so you can share information.
- Learn about connecting with your community. Read the Take 5 flyer Get Connected.
- Month 12: Learn about hazards that occur in Washington County
Why? The more you know about hazards, the better you can prepare.
- Washington County is prone to many types of hazards: earthquakes, wind storms, winter storms, extreme heat and cold, floods and more. Learn about these hazards and know how they may affect you, your friends, and family.
- Read the Take 5 flyers Hazards in Washington County, Earthquake Preparedness, and Severe Weather in Summer and Winter.