The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Beau Renfro
Coordinator, Department of Emergency Management 

Everyone should build a disaster supplies kit


October 26, 2017

This is the third part of a disaster preparedness series and this week I am going to discuss the components you will need to "Build a Kit."

A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You should try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and don't forget to take these essentials with you. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency for an extended period of time. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 5-7 days. In the event of a large scale disaster such as an earthquake relief workers will not be able to reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take several days.

Store these items in something that is portable and easily carried, like a plastic tub with a tight-fitting lid. If you have a large family, several smaller tubs may be easier to carry than one large container. Locate these supplies as close to your primary house exit as possible. You may have to find it in the dark or after the upheaval of an earthquake.

Your basic kit should consist of at least these basic items in quantities to last 5-days:

* A copy of your family communications plan in a Ziploc bag.

* Water one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.

* 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.

* Filter mask.

* Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

* Manual can opener if kit contains canned food.

* Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

* Items for unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers.

* Cell phone and chargers or a prepaid calling card.

* Household chlorine bleach - You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

* Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records.

* Food and extra water for your pets.

Also, once you have created your kit, it is important that you bring it out and rotate the items in it at least once a year. This is a good time to make sure that items still function, food is not out of date, and that water is fresh.

I really think of my kit as my comfort kit. As I select items to put in to my kit I select items that will help me to pass the time and the items I would really want to eat or use.

It is the responsibility of every resident of Wahkiakum County to be prepared and be self supporting for at least 5-7 days after an emergency or disaster, whether it be an earthquake or flooding. Our county has a wonderful group of dedicated emergency responders, public utility district, public works, deputies, and fire and emergency medical services, but in a large scale disaster, it is possible that your access to these services will be delayed. If you have any questions or for more information on the item I have discussed in this article, contact me (Beau Renfro) at, 795-3242, 465-2202 or visit my website at:


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