helpful items include basic tools (wrench,
pliers, utility knife), compass, whistle, signal
flare, area map and fire extinguisher.
D isaster preparedness
in the home
PREPARE YOUR FAMILY for emergency
disasters such as blackouts, earthquakes, fires,
floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and winter
storms by taking a few minutes to put together
an at-home emergency kit. By keeping these
items in an easy-to-carry container, you have
the security of knowing that your family will
be ready for almost any emergency.
sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, cold packs, scissors and
tweezers. Pain relievers and other over-the-counter medicines are also smart to stock.
Make sure to store extra prescription medicine for family members with specific health
concerns such as asthma or diabetes.
Essential safety tips
• Make a plan. Communication is key. Get
together with family members and outline
evacuation routes and communication plans
to stay connected during an emergency.
Practice makes perfect. Routinely revisit
these skills to stay sharp.
• Get a kit. Prepare a comprehensive emergency kit for your home as well as a small kit
for each of your family vehicles. Don’t forget
to check your kit every six months to refresh
supplies and replace batteries.
• Be informed. Read up on community-specific emergency action plans and keep a
list of local emergency contacts. Contact
your local American Red Cross branch to
request informational materials and learn
about first aid and CPR training. C
Source: American Red Cross
Food and water
Keep a three-day supply of food and
water per family member. Calculate at least
one gallon of water per person each day.
Water can easily be stored in plastic soft-drink
bottles. Make sure food items are nonperishable. Include canned meats, fruits and vegetables that require little to no preparation. Don’t
forget a non-electric can opener.
Battery-operated lights and radios
Consider battery-operated lanterns or
flashlights with energy-efficient compact
fluorescent bulbs or LED lanterns, which
provide a bright ambient light. Battery-operated radios allow you to easily tune in to
the latest emergency information for your
community. Pack plenty of extra batteries.
A well-stocked first-aid kit is a must.
Include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, hand
Toilet paper, soap, plastic bags and household disinfectants allow you to keep conditions sanitary, and extra clothing and bedding
will keep you comfortable and warm. Other
The Costco Connection
Costco members can find a wide variety of
multi-day emergency food and water kits
for home, car and office, as well as first-aid
kits, backup energy sources and power
inverters, sump pumps and two-way radios,
at Costco warehouses and on Costco.com.
Residential and small-business asset inventory software, available on Costco.com,
helps you photographically document and
update your personal property in the event
of a disaster or insurance claim.
Disaster preparedness tips for business
By Howard Baldwin
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, many small
businesses are caught unprepared.
To avoid becoming a statistic, here are
seven simple ways you can prepare ahead of
time for contingencies—and help your business be more efficient.
Take a break from computers
Even if your company is highly dependent on computers, you should make sure
you can still continue to live without them in
case of emergency, or even an extended electrical outage. After Hurricane Katrina, a New
Orleans–area bank instituted an exercise in
which every six months, tellers were required
to forego computers and do their work manually. That way, even without electricity, they
could still serve customers.
If you set up your computer systems to
allow employees to work from home periodically, whether by installing special software on
their home computers or issuing them laptops, they can keep working even if they can’t
get into the office. Surveys suggest that offering telecommuting options also helps
Set up secondary work locations
In case one of your facilities is out of
commission, assign workers to report to facilities closer to their homes. Consider making
arrangements with other companies in different regions to give your employees a temporary place to work, whether in a conference
room, warehouse or branch office, and make
the same offer to them.
After a disaster, not every employee will be
able to get to the office. By cross-training
employees on secondary or related responsibilities, you have a better chance of having employees on hand who can handle important tasks.
Employees also appreciate the added insight and
education beyond their primary role.
Strive for simplicity
Analyze your current procedures to see if
they are simple enough for someone to pick
up with little preparation. Diana L. McClure,
the business resiliency program manager at
DisasterSafety.org, asks, “Are your files named
in a consistent and recognizable way so that
anyone can figure out what’s in them?” This
analysis helps increase ongoing efficiency too.
Prepare for sleepovers
If your employees are stranded at work,
make sure it’s comfortable for them. Store rudimentary equipment for cooking and sleeping,
along with first-aid supplies. Installing a shower
will give employees a place to freshen up.
Many nonprofit agencies maintain Web
sites about business continuity. Stay up-to-date by periodically visiting the United States’
Disaster Safety site (
Canada’s Institute for Catastrophic Loss
www.iclr.org) or the UK’s Business
Continuity Institute (
Howard Baldwin writes frequently about