As we learn more about the extent of impact from large regional disasters such as wildfires, floods, ice storms or a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, we know we need to be self-sufficient for at least two weeks, if not longer.
This lessens the strain on emergency responders who may be unable to navigate impacted transportation routes or who need to focus limited resources on injured and other vulnerable populations immediately following a disaster.
2 Weeks Ready is a process of learning about the specific needs for your situation as well as knowing what items to always have on hand and packed in a bag or other container that is quickly available and easy to carry.
- Be Informed:
- Know about the hazards where you live.
- Make an Emergency Plan:
- Talk with family and friends about what you will do, including if you’re not together during an emergency.
- Build an Emergency Kit:
- Include two weeks supply of food, water and other necessities.
What does 2 Weeks look like?
There is no one correct way to put together two weeks’ worth of supplies since everyone has individual dietary and medical needs.
Think about the things you use daily: toothbrush, medications, soap, cell phone chargers, etc.
Then think about what you might need during a power outage: flashlights, batteries, manual can opener, all-purpose tool, etc.
And think about what you may need during an emergency: first aid kit, blanket, a change of clothes, copies of important papers, face masks, etc. If your family includes children, seniors or pets, you will have additional needs.
Everyone’s kit will look different but for a basic starting point, see the
Ready.gov website; the American Red Cross Cascades Region also has the list of items on page 23 of its
After you’ve put all these items in an easy-to-access container, you will need to consider
water. Make sure that you have high-protein canned items like tuna, beans or stews, and other pantry items like peanut butter, nuts or dried fruit. These are supplies that are filling, provide good nutrition and last over time.
When it comes to water, however, you will need to think a little more creatively. The rule of thumb for water is
one gallon per person (and per pet) per day. This will cover cooking, cleaning and sanitation needs. You’ll need to store water in containers in a cool, dry, accessible location; if you don’t have enough storage space, consider water purification/filtration systems in your kit (e.g., bleach, filtration straws). You can also allow for water available in home hot water heaters, ice cube trays, etc.
Think about it. Talk about it.
In the event of an emergency, it is important to make sure that you and your family’s basic needs are being met and that everyone is safe.
We all have our own idea of family – be it multi-generational, faith-based, blended, single-parent, good friends, LGBTQ or household based. Have meaningful conversations with your identified family, friends, care providers and others close to you to discuss the following:
- What are the backup transportation methods and routes if main thoroughfares aren’t passable?
- Who will care for the kids, elderly family members, those with special needs, and pets if you are unable to get to them for several hours?
- Who in your neighborhood has medical skills, a generator, a chainsaw or other critical tools or resources?
- Do you have an out-of-state contact? Designate one person to be the main contact for your household.
Life happens fast.
Being prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks is an achievable goal.
Many of the standard preparedness kit items such as flashlights, gloves, hand-crank radios, trash bags and a first-aid kit are already in your 72-hour kit. The following resources, including colorful, easy-to-read brochures and fun, short videos can help you think about and share how to be 2 Weeks Ready in a variety of ways.
Disasters – large and small – can strike any time. Taking simple steps today can pay huge dividends when the next emergency arrives. Begin your 2 Weeks Ready planning today!