Are you prepared for a disaster? Here are a few tips to keep you safe

Red Cross donates 120 cots to local non-profits (Image 1)
Red Cross donates 120 cots to local non-profits (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Many of us want to help victims of disasters, but are we prepared to help ourselves?

The American Red Cross suggests everyone have a go-kit on hand in case of an emergency.

It’s filled with all the items you would need if you had to leave home quickly. Things like medication, a blanket, and a battery-powered radio.

“Disasters don’t pick and choose who they affect,” said Joel Sullivan, CEO of the Red Cross Nashville chapter. “When the time comes to leave your home in a moment’s notice, you’re going to want the important things in your life.”

Here are some of the items the Red Cross says you should have:

Water – Your family may be without water for days in the aftermath of a disaster. The Red Cross recommends that each person store one gallon of water per day for at least three days. This supply will provide water for drinking as well as limited cleaning and cooking.

Food – When preparing for a disaster, store at least three days of non-perishable, nutritious food that requires little or no water or cooking to prepare. Don’t forget to store a manual can opener with non-perishable food items. When assembling items, remember that you and your family may be without water, gas, or electricity for an unknown period of time.

Medications – When assembling a preparedness kit for you and your family, remember that pharmacies may be closed in the wake of a disaster. Be sure to include a week’s supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Also keep a list of all medications and dosages, allergies, doctors’ names, and nearby hospitals.

Radio – Your home or even neighborhood may lose power in the aftermath of a disaster. Keep a battery-powered or hand-crank radio in your kit. Don’t forget to include extra batteries in your kit to ensure you and your family stay informed throughout the course or aftermath of a disaster.

First Aid Kit – Injuries are a common occurrence in a disaster. Be prepared to treat yourself, your loved ones, and others who need help.

Personal Documents – You and your family may be displaced after a disaster. Be prepared, ensuring you have all necessary records with you – ID, passport, birth certificate, and insurance policies. Also keep an extra set of eye glasses, contact lenses, a cane, hearing aid batteries, or any other personal items you may need.

Contact Information – Keep a list of family phone numbers and addresses as well as a copy of your out-of-area emergency contact card in your preparedness kit. Note that it is often easier to make a long-distance call rather than a local call after a disaster strikes.

Map – Include a detailed map of the surrounding areas with highlighted evacuation routes. Following a disaster, roads may be closed and travel out of the affected area may not be possible. Become familiar with alternate routes to and from your home.

Money – Following a disaster, banks and ATMs may be closed. Keep small bills and change on hand to buy necessary supplies like water.

Clothing – You and your family may be forced to evacuate your home in a hurry without time to pack accordingly. Keep an extra set of warm clothes and sturdy shoes in your preparedness kit to ensure you’re equipped to evacuate if needed.

Sanitary Supplies – Include extra toilet paper, feminine supplies, personal hygiene products, bleach, and any other personal products you may need in your preparedness kit.

Pet Supplies – Remember to include your pets in the plan. Make sure to assemble things your pets will need during a disaster, like food, leashes, medicine, etc.

Tools – Keep an adjustable wrench in your preparedness kit to turn off your gas if necessary. Other tools may include a manual can opener, plastic sheeting, garbage bags with ties, and duct tape.