Living on Bainbridge Island along with its surrounding communities has been an enjoyable experience to most of us. However, emergency or disaster situations can rob us of that joy if we are not prepared. Those of us who have lived here a while have experienced some extended power outages from strong winds. Our motto should be "plan for the worst and hope for the best".

With that in mind, if an earthquake, winter storm or other disaster strikes our community, you might not have access to food, water and electricity and other major services for days, or even weeks. By taking some time now to store emergency food and water, and other important supplies, you can provide for your entire family. This checklist is not all-inclusive but is a start to help you review and prepare for any future event. Keep in mind that with a major earthquake, state and county officials are suggesting that we prepare for a 7 to 10 day disruption in services.


Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more.

You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store a total of at least one gallon per person, per day for drinking and personal use. You should store at least a 7 to 10 supply of water for each member of your family. If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

Also keep in mind that if you have pets, they will need water as well. Monitor their consumption for a seven day period to obtain a good average per day requirement. Also check and see if there are any items in the home that requires water for their operations.

1 gallon x ________ family members x ________ days = ________ gallons for personal use

_________ gallon (s) for pets per day x ________ days = ________ gallons for pets

_________ misc. gallon (s) per day x ________ days = ________ gallons for special use

___________ Total gallons of water

How to Store Water:

Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.

Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Rotate water every six months.

Emergency Outdoor Water Sources:
If you need to find water outside your home, you can use these sources. Be sure to purify the water according to the instructions listed below before drinking it.


Streams, rivers and other moving bodies of water

Ponds and lakes

Natural springs

Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first. You should not drink floodwater.

Three Ways to Purify Water:
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.

There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Two easy purification methods are outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.


  1. Boiling
    Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.
  2. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

  3. Disinfecting
    You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
  4. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

    The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

    While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

  5. Distillation
    Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right side up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
  6. Hidden Water Sources in Your Home:
    If a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

    Do you know the location of your incoming water valve? You'll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines.

    To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your house at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the house.

    To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.


    Short - Term Supplies:
    Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for better than two weeks, you should prepare a supply that will last that long. The easiest way to develop a two-week stockpile is to increase the amount of basic foods you normally keep on your shelves.

    Storage Tips

    Keep food in a dry, cool spot-a dark area if possible.

    Keep food covered at all times.

    Open food boxes or cans carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.

    Wrap cookies and crackers in plastic bags, and keep them in tight containers.

    Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight cans to protect them from pests.

    Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.

    Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.

    Nutrition Tips
    During and right after a disaster, it will be vital that you maintain your strength. So remember:

    Eat at least one well-balanced meal each day.

    Drink enough liquid to enable your body to function properly (two quarts a day).

    Take in enough calories to enable you to do any necessary work.

    Include vitamin, mineral and protein supplements in your stockpile to assure adequate nutrition.

    Food Supplies·.
    When Food Supplies Are Low
    If activity is reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.

    If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don't stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

    You don't need to go out and buy unfamiliar foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard shelves. In fact, familiar foods are important. They can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won't require cooking, water or special preparation. Following are recommended short-term food storage plans.

    Special Considerations:
    As you stock food, take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best.

    Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will babies, toddlers and elderly people. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.

    Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils. And don't forget non-perishable foods for your pets.

    Shelf-life of Foods for Storage:
    Here are some general guidelines for rotating common emergency foods.

    Use within six months:

    Powdered milk (boxed)

    Dried fruit (in metal container)

    Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)



    Use within one year:

    Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups

    Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables

    Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)

    Peanut butter


    Hard candy and canned nuts

    Vitamin C

    May be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):


    Vegetable oils

    Dried corn

    Baking powder


    Instant coffee, tea and cocoa


    Non-carbonated soft drinks

    White rice

    Bouillon products

    Dry pasta

    Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)

    If the Electricity Goes Off:
    FIRST, use perishable food and foods from the refrigerator.

    THEN, use the foods from the freezer. To minimize the number of times you open the freezer door, post a list of freezer contents on it. In a well-filled, well-insulated freezer, foods will usually still have ice crystals in their centers (meaning foods are safe to eat) for at least three days.

    FINALLY, begin to use non-perishable foods and staples.

    How to Cook If the Power Goes Out:
    For emergency cooking you can use a fireplace, or a charcoal grill or camp stove can be used outdoors. You can also heat food with candle warmers, chafing dishes and fondue pots. Canned food can be eaten right out of the can. If you heat it in the can, be sure to open the can and remove the label first. Do not heat cans that have a plastic lining.

    Other Personal Needs

    Cooking & Eating Utensils (pots, pans, plates, cups, forks, spoons, knives, etc.)  Print this out and use it as a check list.

    checkboxCan Opener (manual)

    checkboxMulti-Purpose Tool Box with general household tools

    checkboxAluminum Foil

    checkboxPlastic Buckets (plenty of extra buckets on hand)

    checkboxSewing Kit (needles, thread, scissors, etc)

    checkboxBaby Supplies (bottles, bottle liners, wipes, diapers, ointments, etc.)

    checkboxRolls of Plastic Sheeting (solar stills, shelter, roof leak repair, many uses)

    checkboxToilet Paper

    checkboxHygiene Supplies (toothpaste & brushes, floss, deodorant, razors, shave cream, hydrogen peroxide, shampoo, etc.)

    checkboxFeminine Hygiene Supplies (may want to consider the Keeper)

    checkboxCleaning Supplies (soap, detergents, disinfectants, chlorine bleach, garbage bags)

    checkboxExtra Personal Items (contacts & solution, eyeglasses, dentures, retainers, etc.)

    checkboxPet supplies (food, litter, vaccines, etc.)

    Warm clothing (in case you have to evacuate your home)

    Medical Devices, Equipment and Prescriptions:

    If someone in the home has special medical needs or is under a Doctors care, the following actions will help in planning for any emergency / disaster situation:

    1. If someone in your family is dependent on medical devices, contact the manufacturer to insure that they are servicable in emergency situations.
    2. Keep a journal to record the names of family physicians, special medical conditions, allergies and current prescriptions.
    3. Contact your physician about obtaining advance supplies of critical prescriptions.

      First Aid Kit:

      Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:

      Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes

      2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)

      4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)

      Hypoallergenic adhesive tape

      Triangular bandages (3)

      2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)

      3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)




      Moistened towelettes



      Tongue blades (2)

      Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

      Assorted sizes of safety pins

      Cleansing agent/soap

      Latex gloves (2 pair)


      Non-prescription drugs

      Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever

      Anti-diarrhea medication

      Antacid (for stomach upset)

      Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)


      Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

      Any other over the counter items that are regularly used by the family.



      Flashlights with Extra Batteries

      checkboxMatches & Lighters (some waterproof/windproof)

      checkboxCandles and Oil Lamps

      checkboxChemical Light Sticks


      Fire Safety and Emergency Equipment:

      Fire Extinguisher

      Smoke Alarms (Extra Batteries)

      Shut off Wrenches (Water, Gas, etc.)

      Shovels, picks and other outdoors hand tools

      checkboxGenerator & Fuel

      Emergency / Disaster Supplies:

      Batteries - (plenty of extra batteries for everything you can think of)

      checkboxWood Burning Stove

      checkboxKerosene Heaters

      checkboxWarming Pads for hand/body

      checkboxOther Alternate Heat Sources (battery powered carbon monoxide detector)

      checkboxExtra blankets & sleeping bags and winter clothing


      checkboxSwiss Army Knife or camping knife

      Radio / Communications:

      CB Radio/walkie-talkies

      checkboxRadio Frequency Scanners

      checkboxAM/FM radio with weather band (battery Operated)

      (NOTE: Tuning radios to 710 KIRO or 1000 KOMO will give continuous local emergency information.)

      Vehicles / Transportation:

      Beginning in November, keep you gas tanks full.

      Insure that all fluids are up at all times and store extras fluids (oil, anti-freeze, etc.) for use as needed

      Create a Emergency Documents File:

      Copies of bills (credit cards, utilities, rent or mortgage, etc.)

      Payroll information, IRAs, stock and investment information

      Bank statements

      Insurance policies (home, auto and life)

      Tax information

      Listing of all the household items

      Identification (passports, birth certificates, etc.)

      Other financial and legal records

      CASH·a basic supply of one months worth at a minimum is suggested

      Create a family disaster plan:

      To get started...

      Find out which disasters are most likely to happen in your community.

      Ask how you would be warned.

      Find out how to prepare for each.

      Meet with your family.

      Discuss the types of disasters that could occur.

      Explain how to prepare and respond.

      Discuss what to do if advised to evacuate.

      Practice what you have discussed.

      Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster.

      Pick two meeting places:

      a location a safe distance from your home in case of fire.
      2) a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.

      Choose an out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call.

      Complete these steps.

    5. Post emergency telephone numbers by every phone.
    6. Show responsible family members how and when to shut off water, gas and electricity at main switches.
    7. Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries two times each year.
    8. Contact your local fire department to learn about home fire hazards.
    9. Learn first aid and CPR. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter or Bainbridge Fire Department for information and training.

Meet with your neighbors.
Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your neighbors' skills (medical, technical, etc.). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for childcare in case parents can't get home. Remember to practice and maintain your plan. Utilize the materials from Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management and Bainbridge Island Resilient Community Network.