Many potential terrorist attacks could send tiny microscopic "junk" into the air.
For example, an explosion may release very fine debris that can cause lung damage.
A biological attack may release germs that can make you sick if inhaled or absorbed
through open cuts. Many of these agents can only hurt you if they get into your
body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
Nose and mouth protection
Face masks or dense-weave cotton material, that snugly covers your nose and mouth
and is specifically fit for each member of the family. Do whatever you can to make
the best fit possible for children.
Be prepared to improvise with what you have on hand to protect your nose, mouth,
eyes and cuts in your skin. Anything that fits snugly over your nose and mouth,
including any dense-weave cotton material, can help filter contaminants in an emergency.
It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or
cloth, not around it. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
There are also a variety of face masks readily available in hardware stores that
are rated based on how small a particle they can filter in an industrial setting.
Given the different types of attacks that could occur, there is not one solution
for masking. For instance, simple cloth face masks can filter some of the airborne
"junk" or germs you might breathe into your body, but will probably not protect
you from chemical gases. Still, something over your nose and mouth in an emergency
is better than nothing. Limiting how much "junk" gets into your body may impact
whether or not you get sick or develop disease.
- Heavyweight plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself
and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as "shelter-in-place,"
is a matter of survival. You can use these things to tape up windows, doors and
air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside contamination. Consider precutting
and labeling these materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when
Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris
in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you can use
these things to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room.
Read more: Deciding to Stay or Go.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration) filter fans
Once you have sealed a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape you may have created
a better barrier between you and any contaminants that may be outside. However,
no seal is perfect and some leakage is likely. In addition to which, you may find
yourself in a space that is already contaminated to some degree.
Consider a portable air purifier, with a HEPA filter, to help remove contaminants
from the room where you are sheltering. These highly efficient filters have small
sieves that can capture very tiny particles, including some biological agents. Once
trapped within a HEPA filter contaminants cannot get into your body and make you
sick. While these filters are excellent at filtering dander, dust, molds, smoke,
biological agents and other contaminants, they will not stop chemical gases.
Some people, particularly those with severe allergies and asthma, use HEPA filters
in masks, portable air purifiers as well as in larger home or industrial models
to continuously filter the air.
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may be cut, burned or suffer other
injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your
loved ones when they are hurt.
Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical
attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency.
Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help
you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
Things you should have:
- Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Burn ointment to prevent infection.
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
- Thermometer (Read more: Biological Threat)
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and
asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment
Things it may be good to have:
- Cell Phone
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for upset stomach)
Water, food, and clean air are the essential items for survival. Each family or
individual's kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications
and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.
Recommended supplies to include in a basic kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
- Moist towelettes for sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
- Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Clothing and bedding
During the cold weather months in South Texas, you must think about warmth. It is
possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing
and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes.
One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
- A jacket or coat
- Long pants
- A long sleeve shirt
- Sturdy shoes
- A hat and gloves
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Other items to consider adding to your supply kit:
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or a print out of this information
- Rain gear
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Cash or traveler's checks, change
- Paper towels
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Signal flare
- Paper, pencil
- Medicine dropper
- Feminine supplies
- Personal hygiene items
- Household chlorine bleach
You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach),
or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 16 drops of regular
household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches
with added cleaners.
Important family documents
Keep copies of important family records such as insurance policies, identification
and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.