Prepare your household emergency kit
Your household emergency kit should contain items you will need if you are isolated in your home following an emergency, or if power or water are disrupted for several days.
Common health problems after a disaster include injuries, infected wounds and heat stress (including sunburn and dehydration) and increased risk of gastrointestinal problems. These can occur if people don't take care of their own health and safety while cleaning up their homes and neighbourhoods.
Communities may lose power after a disaster, resulting in unrefrigerated food, untreated drinking water, or complete loss of water supply.
Essential items for your household emergency kit:
- non-perishable food (canned, bottled or dried)
- can opener, plates, cups, utensils
- cooking gear (e.g. barbecue or portable stove, to boil water for drinking or preparing baby formula)
- at least 2.5 to 3 litres a day of safe drinking water for each person in your household to avoid dehydration.
You will need more safe water for drinking if you:
- are doing manual labour
- live in a hot climate
- are pregnant or breastfeeding, or
- require more water than normal to stay hydrated due to a medical condition.
You will also need more safe water for these uses:
- preparing food and cooking
- hand washing (if you do not have hand sanitiser in your emergency kit)
- bathing infants
- washing dishes.
Medical supplies and personal hygiene:
- first aid kit*
- immunisation records
- toilet paper
- soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo.
* For information on first aid and what to include in a kit, go to: Queensland Ambulance Service website
Personal protection (for cleaning up safely):
- sturdy shoes
- waterproof jacket
- safety glasses
- hand gel
- mosquito repellent.
- household cleaners and/or bleach
- buckets (these can also be used to collect rain water).
Extra items to include when a storm or cyclone is imminent:
- a limited amount of fresh food that doesn't need to be in the fridge (e.g. fruit, vegetables, bread)
- essential medications for at least seven days
- Medicare card, health care card
- esky filled with ice.
Storing water in containers
Unopened, commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency water supply. Food-grade water storage containers, such as those found at camping shops or department stores, can also be used to store safe drinking water. Before filling, wash the storage container with dishwashing liquid and water, and rinse well with safe drinking water.
Avoid using the following containers to store safe water:
- containers that cannot be sealed tightly
- containers that can break, such as glass bottles
- containers that have ever been used for any toxic solid or liquid chemicals (includes old bleach containers)
- plastic or cardboard bottles and containers used for milk or fruit juices.
For proper water storage:
- label container as 'drinking water' and include storage date
- replace stored water that is not commercially bottled every six months
- keep stored water in a place with a fairly constant cool temperature
- do not store water containers in direct sunlight
- do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances such as petrol or pesticides are present.
For a full checklist of what you should include in a household emergency kit, visit:
EMQ - Prepare your Emergency Plan
If you use a generator for power after a disaster, do not use it in an enclosed area, or you may be suffocated.