We are going through a challenging time as we navigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 is likely to be with us for a long while, and that is why we must prepare a little differently for other disasters which may affect our community. It is difficult to think about, but other disasters, like floods and home fires, can still strike. These disasters can cause sudden disruption of power, roads being blocked, emergency services' having a longer response, and causing stores and pharmacies to close for an extended period. COVID-19 adds to this complexity.
Begin preparation by assembling two kits of emergency supplies and a one-month supply of prescriptions. Start with this supply list. Customize your kits to meet your individual and family needs. Include masks, disinfectant, and hygiene items like soap and hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19. Some supplies may be hard to get, and availability will worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now.
Should you end up in quarantine, plan your Stay-at-home kit (2 weeks of emergency supplies). Your stay-at-home kit should contain everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks with food, water, household cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products, and personal hygiene items. Include puzzles, games and other items for any children and ensure you remember your furry friend’s needs.
Evacuation kit (3 days of supplies in a 'go bag'): Your second kit should be a lightweight; smaller version you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. Include everything you need to be on your own for three days - food, water, personal hygiene items, cleaning and disinfectant supplies which you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol, and disinfection wipes). Ensure you have cloth face coverings for everyone in your household who can wear one safely. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. Continue to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others in public.
In an emergency, do not forget about any necessary medications or prescriptions which should be conveniently located in a Prescription kit. Try to have 1-month supply of prescription medication on hand. Don't forget over-the-counter medications such as cough suppressants, fever-reducing drugs, medical supplies and/or equipment. Keep these items together in a separate container to take them with you if you need to evacuate.