Create an emergency supply kit: a how-to for host parents, kids and au pairs

January 15, 2013

Hurricane Sandy affected thousands of Americans, including many Cultural Care Au Pair staff, local childcare coordinators (LCCs), host families and au pairs.It’s safe to say that the severity of Hurricane Sandy took most Americans by surprise—especially families in the Northeast who don’t normally have to worry about such devastating weather conditions. While all Cultural Care Au Pair staff, local childcare coordinators (LCCs), host families and au pairs stayed safe, many were and still are negatively impacted by the hurricane. And probably all of us are thinking more seriously about what we would need to keep our families safe in a similar type of disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is offering guidance on their website to help families:

  • Be informed
  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Get involved
  • Get kids involved

Their advice on building a basic disaster supply kit is especially helpful. FEMA recommends including the following items in every home’s kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-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
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

They also list additional emergency supplies to consider including prescription medication, books and warm bedding (one thing I would be missing most were I down in my basement for any amount of time!) For a complete list of recommended items, you can download their Family Supply List here.

FEMA also has great recommendations for getting your children involved in building a kit. They include lots of fun and games on their website and suggest dividing the family into two teams to turn the hunt for emergency kit items into a scavenger hunt.

There’s no time like the present to get your family’s kit in order because, unfortunately, there is no telling when the next natural disaster will decide to pay a visit.

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