Anything can happen! From a winter storm to a heat wave, natural disaster to a building collapse, it's important to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in your homeowners association and encourage homeowners to do the same. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign, think first about the basics of survival—fresh water, food, clean air and heat.
Here are some items recommended for a basic emergency supply kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for each
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
You might consider adding these additional items:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or similar information from ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts to one part water and 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
- Fire extinguisher
- Personal hygiene items
- Paper cups, plates and towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencils
- Books, games, puzzles and other activities for adults and children
Also remember to meet your homeowners association neighbors and exchange contact information so that you can connect with each other if needed.
You never know when disaster might strike your Association. If you don’t have a plan in place, it’s time to make one for your family, then talk to your Board members or HOA manager to see what the Association has in place. It’s better to be safe than sorry!