If you live in an area where the most disastrous thing that can happen involves losing cellular phone service or pizza delivery, there's really no reason to pack a disaster evacuation kit. However, if Murphy's Law is to be believed, disasters are coming, like it or not.
The East Coast has hurricanes and the West Coast has earthquakes. Tornadoes and thunderstorms plague the Plains. Floods and fires seem to be everywhere. Dotted around the country, however, are those places with little to worry about except the occasional rock falling from space or a garden-variety power outage.
To get ready to hunker down in your home for an extended period of "roughing it" without power or water, you need to have a few supplies on hand.
- seven gallons of bottled water per person or pet; figuring a gallon per person per day, that's enough for a week
- water purification tablets for extra emergency water supplies
- food for a week, which doesn't need water or heat to prepare -- don't forget pet food
- first aid kit
- prescription and nonprescription medications
- manual can opener
- flashlight with fresh batteries
- battery-powered lanterns (avoid candles)
- battery-powered radio with fresh batteries
- lighter or matches
- wrenches to shut-off water and gas supplies (store next to the valves)
- use disposable cups, plates and utensils to conserve water
- stay away from candles; emergency services may not be available to respond to fires
- don't use outdoor grills indoors; you could give everyone in the house carbon monoxide poisoning
- keep a regular phone (one that doesn't plug into a power outlet) for use during power outages
- know how to treat water to add to your emergency water supply for extended periods
- stay away from batteries if possible; use radios and flashlights that do not rely on batteries