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Preparing for an Emergency

Emergency Kit

Specific Preparedness Topics

Emergency Resources for Older Adults


Pack an Emergency Kit

Do you have everything you and your family members (including pets) may need for up to 72 hours?

Remember that in a disaster, it may be impossible to get the supplies you need to survive. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Aurora Office of Emergency Management suggest that you make a kit for each member of your household to be self-sufficient for up to three days.

Kit basics:

  • Store your kit in one location that is easy to find if an evacuation is necessary.

  • Store items in easily transportable containers such as plastic tub with a lid, a suitcase or duffel bag and keep a smaller version in your car. Keep items in the kit in airtight, waterproof plastic bags.

  • If possible, change food and water supplies every six months. Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

  • Remember items like books, playing cards or crayons - items for entertainment may be helpful.

The Essentials:

  • Water: Store water in plastic containers like soft drink bottles instead of containers that will break down such as glass bottles. Store one gallon of water per person per day if possible.

  • Food: Store at least a three day supply of food that needs no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and use little or no water.

  • First Aid Kit: One for your home and one for each car.

  • Important documents: Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container. Documents may include wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds, passports, social security cards, immunization records, bank account numbers, an inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers and family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).

Helpful Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Candles and matches in a waterproof container
  • Cash or extra change
  • Non-electric can opener or utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher - small canister, ABC type
  • Pliers
  • Duct tape
  • Compass
  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap or liquid detergent
  • Feminine products
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties, for personal sanitation use
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant / Household chlorine bleach
  • Aluminum foil, to wrap up food
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting (in case of a hazardous materials spill, to seal off cracks in doors/walls)
  • Map of your area, to locate shelters

Clothing and Bedding: Include one change of clothing and footwear, including sturdy shoes or work boots, rain gear, thermal underwear, and hats, gloves and sunglasses. Also include blankets or sleeping bags and pillows.

Special Considerations: When making a kit, consider the individual needs of your whole family. Children and infants may need formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, and/or medications. Older adults may need heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, dentures, contact lenses and supplies, or extra eye glasses. Others may need more unique items - think of what is necessary for your family members.

Make an Emergency Plan

Family emergency planning is key to keeping your family safe and together during an emergency. Decide on a plan, write it down and post it in a spot where family members can see it-on the refrigerator, by the phone or in another easy-to-find place. Try practicing this plan if possible.

Consider communications

  • Don't rely on cell phones to work during an emergency. Text messaging is often more reliable.

  • Long distance calls may go through when local lines are unavailable.

  • If you can, keep one phone at home that is not dependent on electricity to work.

  • Create a "calling card" with emergency contact phone numbers for each household member to have on them at all times.

  • Program an "In Case of Emergency (ICE)" contact in your cell phone in case you are incapacitated. This should be a family member, close friend or relative.

  • Designate out-of-area phone contacts. Choose three people located far enough out of the area that they would not be affected by the same emergency. If you can't reach friends or family locally, everyone should know to call these people to report where they are. Provide your contact people with important names and numbers before an emergency so they can keep others posted during a situation.

In case of evacuation

  • Decide on possible escape routes from your home. Identify at least two separate escape routes and practice using them.

  • Authorize a neighbor or relative to pick-up and care for children if you can't be there.

  • Identify the best way to evacuate family members with accessibility (use of a walker, wheelchair, scooter) challenges.

  • Decide a location to meet in case you can return home for awhile. Choose three places - one near your home, one outside your immediate neighborhood, and one farther away. Make sure your family knows the address and phone number of all locations.

While making your plan, consider the special needs of children, seniors, persons with disabilities and pets in your household.

Stay Informed

It's essential to know how to get your emergency information before, during and after an emergency. The city of Aurora uses various methods to inform the public about possible or emerging emergency situations.

Outdoor Warning Sirens

Find more information about the sirens here.

Citizen Alert Notification Sign-Up

Citizens can register their preferred means of communication and the city will be able to send a notification to you when and if an emergency happens.

NOAA Weather Radio

Use of an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio is another way to get up to date information. These are usually inexpensive, portable, and battery-operated- making a great addition to any family or car emergency kit. Some radios are programmable so they will only alert you to emergencies happening within a chosen geographic area. They are generally used to provide emergency weather information, but they can also relay a variety of important emergency messages to the public. You can find radios at many local retailers or online.

Local Television and Radio Stations

Our local television and radio stations are great partners in sharing information to our residents and visitors. Local stations simultaneously receive information from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and are able to send that information out more quickly than we can in many cases.

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