Kokua Line: What goes in the emergency kit for disasters?

whatask: When you print out the emergency supplies list, can you mention that people should also have a small first aid kit at work, because you never know where it will be when disaster strikes? This tends to get overlooked in Hawaii because we focus on hurricane season and there is usually a warning time for that.

Answer: Yes, the US Department of Homeland Security tells people to make and keep disaster kits in their homes, workplaces, and cars, and has checklists for each on their website, ready. gov/kit.

People who work outside the home should be prepared to shelter in the office for at least 24 hours, the DHS says. “Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicine, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a carry case,” she says. Similarly, similar supplies in your car will help if you become stranded in the vehicle, she says.

At home, keep a disaster kit in a designated location that everyone in the household knows about, he says. Keep at least a few days worth of items in easy-to-carry airtight containers, ready to go if you need to leave the house quickly. Two weeks of home emergency supplies are recommended for Hawaii residents, but depending on the size of your family and your vehicle, you may not be able to carry everything if you have to leave your home; “Mini-kits” built with a two week supply can help.

As promised in the column that inspired your question (808ne.ws/519kline), we’ll list the DHS recommendations for a basic household disaster supply kit:

>> Water (1 gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)

>> Food (at least a multi-day supply of non-perishable food)

>> Battery or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert

>> flashlight

>> First aid kit

>> Extra batteries

>> Whistle (to call for help)

>> Dust masks (to help filter polluted air)

>> Plastic sheeting and tape (to protect yourself in place)

>> Wet wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal hygiene)

>> Wrench or pliers (to disconnect utilities)

>> Manual can opener (for food)

>> Local maps

>> Cell phone with chargers and at least one backup battery

Additionally, DHS says to consider adding the following items based on household needs:

>> Masks (for everyone ages 2+), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes

>> Prescription drugs

>> Non-prescription medications, such as pain relievers, anti-diarrheal medications, antacids, or laxatives

>> Prescription glasses, contact lenses and contact lens solution

>> Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream

>> Pet food and extra water for pets

>> Cash or traveler’s checks

>> Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records stored electronically or in a waterproof portable container

>> Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

>> Complete change of clothes and resistant footwear.

>> Fire extinguisher

>> Matches in a waterproof container

>> Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

>> Dining kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils

>> Paper and pencil

>> Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has more resources on its website, dod.hawaii.gov/hiema, under the “Prepare” tab. There are packing lists for home kits and travel bags.


As we were finishing our delicious lunch at Jackie’s Diner, one of our favorite lunch spots, the smiling waiter told us that a gentleman who had just left had paid for our lunch. It’s nice to know that the aloha spirit is alive and well and that gray-haired “aunts” and “uncles” are treated with anonymous affection. — Mahalo from “Auntie” L. and “Uncle” S.

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