Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Kit
Be prepared for an emergency situation, severe weather, or disaster.
- Watch vs. Warning vs. Advisory
- Weather Warning System/Severe Weather & Tornadoes
- Know Winter Weather Conditions Terms
- Other Severe Weather Scenarios
Watch vs. Warning vs. Advisory
Following are the National Weather Service definitions for watch, warning, and advisory.
These terms form the basis for each product issued to the public.
An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant inconvenience and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
A watch is issued when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. Watches evolve into warnings, advisories, or they are canceled.
These products are issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. The NWS is the single "official" voice when issuing warnings for life-threatening situations.
Emergency Disaster Kit
After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g. a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.
Your basic emergency kit should include:
Water - one gallon per person per day
Food - at least a three day supply of non-perishable food
A whistle to signal for help
Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
First Aid kit & instructions
A copy of important documents & phone numbers
Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
Heavy work gloves
Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes and soap.
Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
Blanket or sleeping bag
Large heavy duty plastic bags, garbage bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don't forget water and supplies for your pets.
Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one "Go-bag" for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety.
Radio - battery operated or hand crank and if possible a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
Some water and food
Permanent marker, paper and tape
Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
Copy of health insurance and identification cards
Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
Prescription medications and first aid supplies
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Extra keys to your house and vehicle
Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don't forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.