Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparedness is everyone's responsibility. And, this is especially important at the family level. The Roxbury Township Health Department can help you be better prepared by supplying you with handouts that can help keep you safe during an emergency. If you would like a free copy of one of these handouts please visit us at the Health Department located at 72 Eyland Avenue, Succasunna, or call 973 448-2028. 

One of the most important things that you will need in a disaster is water. Below are some tips on storing water for an emergency. 

FEMA recommends that all households store an emergency supply of potable water of at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days. 
  • Don’t forget about pets. The amount will vary by type of pet.
  • A good way to accomplish emergency water storage is purchasing bottled water. Bottled water stock should be rotated in accordance with the bottler’s recommendations.
  • Home bottled water should be stored in a clean sealed container and discarded every 6 months
  • All bottled water should be stored in a cool, dark & dry place away from chemicals
  • In the event of an extended emergency that you have received prior waning of another option is bath tub liner. These liners can store up to 100 gallons of potable water in your tub in a clean liner equipped with a manual pump for distribution. Some company’s that produce liners are Waterbob & Aquapod.
  • There are also chemical sanitization methods such as Cl bleach & iodine, although proper amount of sanitizer must be used to assure safe consumption and they should be used as a last resort.
Non-potable water storage can come in handy also. In the event of water system failure you may not be able to flush your toilet (1.6 gallons per flush) and it may not be a good idea to use precious potable water that you need for drinking. Storage of some non-potable water for this purpose is also a good idea. (3 gallons per person per day) The storage life is indefinite since it will not be used for potable uses. Just make sure to clearly mark these containers as NON-POTABLE so they are not mistakenly used for consumption. 
Another item to consider is an Emergency Go Kit , these kits are useful for both in house sheltering or in an evacuation situation. Kits should include;

Food & Water 
  • Purified Boxed Water
  • High Calorie Meal Bars
  • Water Purification tablets
  • Am/Fm Radio with Headphones and Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Signal Mirror (a CD works also)
Light Sources 
  • Squeeze Flashlight or LED flashlight
  • Candle
  • Emergency Glow Sticks
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Lighter
Shelter and Warmth
  • Tent (big enough for # of people)
  • Emergency Blanket (per person)
  • Poncho with hood (per person)
  • Multi-Tool (Leatherman / Gerber)
  • Leather Work Gloves
  • Nylon Rope (50 feet)
  • Small ax
  • Bungy Cords
  • Bio-degradable Toilet Paper
  • Tissues
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Hand Towel
First Aid
  • First Aid Kit
  • Necessary over the counter medication (aspirin, anti-diarrhea)
  • Feminine pads
  • Notepad
  • Pencil
  • Plastic sealing bags
Below find some ideas about protecting your food supply during a disaster or power outage.
Keeping Food Safe after a Natural Disaster or Power Outage

Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat.
· Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.
· Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
· Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for 2 hours or more.
· Thawed food that contains ice crystals or is 40 degree F or below can be refrozen or cooked.
· Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened, or damaged.
· Food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops, snap-open, and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come into contact with floodwater because they cannot be disinfected.
· If cans have come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the labels, wash the cans, and dip them in a solution of 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Re label the cans with a marker.
· Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula.

Store food safely.
· While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
· Add block ice or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity is expected to be off longer than 4 hours. Wear heavy gloves when handling dry ice.

Handle food safely.
· If there is no water available for hand washing, use alcohol based hand sanitizers.

Related Resources: 
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline.
Available for consumers questions and concerns about food safety.

USDA Alert: Keeping Food Safe During Flooding and Power Outages

Hand Hygiene in Emergency Situations

Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency, U.S. Department of Agriculture