Time to set your clocks back on November 7th, 2010. The fire department encourgages everyone to check your smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries. You should have one near the bedrooms and at least one on every floor of your home. This is also a very good time to go through your emergency disaster stash. Here in the Northwest US we are suppose to be in for a more extreme winter than we are accustomed.
I recently graduated from the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program in our area. It is a nation wide program to help prepare citizens to help their communities in case of a man-made or natural disaster where the police and/or fire departments are overwhelmed with the vastness of the disaster and cannot help the masses.
During my CERT class we were told it is better to have an out of state family contact east to west rather than north to south. If cell phone circuits are locally overwhelmed during a disaster for whatever reason it is more difficult to contact others locally than long-distance, and more easy to contact east-west. If everyone in your family contacts the same person out-of-state you may be able to check everyone's status better through your contact than to call them direct locally.
Here is a list of essentials to have in your personal/family disaster emergency kit from http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer.
Recommended Items to Include in 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 both
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)
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
Prescription medications and glasses
Infant formula and diapers
Pet 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
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
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 water to one part bleach, 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.
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children