Managing a Disaster at Home

Although you may not be asked to evacuate—and even if you are—disasters can isolate you from outside help and make it necessary for you to care for yourself for days at a time. Your disaster supply kit will contain many of the tools and supplies you need. Here are other ways to use and manage the resources you have at your home.

Water
Water is crucial for health and survival. If a disaster is imminent, fill pitchers, jars, buckets, water bottles and your bathtub in case your community water supply is cut off.  If your drinking water supply is running low, use water from ice cube trays, the water heater and toilet tanks (but not bowls). It is not safe to use the water from radiators, waterbeds, or swimming pools.  Each person should drink at least two quarts of water each day. Drink what you need each day, and look for more water for the next day.

Food
  • Ration food supplies for everyone except children and pregnant women
  • Avoid eating food from dented or swollen cans or food that looks or smells abnormal
  • Use pre-prepared formula for babies

In Case the Power Goes Out
  • Practice energy conservation to help your power company avoid rolling blackouts.
  • Always keep your car’s fuel tank at least half full—gas stations use electricity to operate pumps.
  • Know how to manually release your electric garage door.
  • Protect your computer with a surge protector.
  • If the power goes out, check your fuse box or circuit breaker, or contact neighbors to see if the outage is limited to your own home.
  • Turn off computers, stereos, televisions and appliances you were using when the power went off. Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will remain fresh for up to four hours after the power goes off. If you know power outages may happen, freeze water in plastic bottles to keep food cool longer.
  • If the outage is expected to last for several days or more, consider relocation to a shelter or a friend’s home.

Using a Generator
If you plan to use a generator, operate it outside only, not in the basement or garage. Do not hook it up directly to your home’s wiring. Instead, connect the equipment and appliances you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.