National Preparedness Month – Basics of Survival from the PFFD

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it is best to think first about the basics of survival, i.e., fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. The following items are recommended for inclusion in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:


  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate, more water may be necessary.


  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little water.
  • Pack a manual can opener and eating utensils.
  • Avoid salty foods, as they will make you thirsty.
  • Choose foods your family will eat such as ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola.

Dust Mask

  • Have a dust mask available for each family member to help filter contaminated air.
  • Add plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Some potential emergencies could send tiny microscopic ‘junk’ into the air. For example, flooding could create airborne mold which could make you sick and an explosion may release very fine debris that can cause lung damage.

Nose and Mouth Protection

  • Face masks or dense-weave cotton material that snugly covers your nose and mouth and is specifically fit for each member of the family.
  • Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
  • Be prepared to improvise with what you have on hand to protect your nose, mouth, eyes and cuts in your skin.
  • Anything that fits snugly over your nose and mouth, including any dense-weave cotton material, can help filter contaminants in an emergency.
  • It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or cloth, not around it.

Other Barriers

  • Heavyweight plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting.
  • Duct tape.
  • Scissors.

There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as ‘shelter-in-place’ is a matter of survival. You can use the above items to tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside contamination. Consider precutting and labeling these materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when it counts.

High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration (HEPA) Filter Fans

Once you have sealed a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape you may have created a better barrier between you and any contaminants that may be outside. However, no seal is perfect and some leakage is likely. In addition to which you may find yourself in a space that is already contaminated to some degree. Consider a portable air purifier, with a HEPA filter, to help remove contaminants from the room where you are sheltering. These highly efficient filters have small sieves that can capture very tiny particles, including some biological agents. Once trapped within a HEPA filter, contaminants cannot get into your body and make your sick.

For more information, visit the following web site: www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/.

Source: Park Forest Fire Department