Being prepared for Mayan predictions, zombies or even the more plausible — if mundane — snowpocolypses and tornados gives people a way to stay safe until emergency workers can reach them.

Having a kit that includes enough supplies to keep everyone in your house safe for 72 hours is an important step to being prepared.

“It is the YOYO rule — you’re on your own until help can arrive,” said Debbi Collett, program assistant with the Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency.

For those who prepare for the Mayan prediction Thursday only to awake on Friday, preparations will still be valuable. Friday is the first day of winter and a good opportunity to have a winter preparedness kit pulled together.

“Much of this is pretty common sense; food and water for three days for everyone in your house, warm clothes, medicines, blankets,” Collett said. “The problem is people don’t do it.”

Collett said technology is an easy thing to get use to but in an emergency, cellphone towers get busy with a call volume and cellphone batteries go dead.

While the Mayan prediction is far from reality, a heavy snow storm or a tornado is very possible in central Illinois.

“Some disasters are a reality where we live and people need to be prepared for it,” Collett said. “People need to give themselves enough of a margin that they can respond to a situation instead of react to it.”

A list of basic supplies needed for an emergency kit, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are:

• water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation,

• food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food,

• battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both,

• flashlight and extra batteries

• first aid kit

• whistle to signal for help

• infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant, water and pet food, if you have a pet,

• moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation,

• dust mask or cotton T-shirt, to help filter the air,

• plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place,

• wrench or pliers to turn off utilities,

• can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).

To make things a little easier, the American Red Cross has partnered with Grainger to build emergency kits that are available for sale at the Red Cross website at

Other tips, Collett recommends is having a copy of important documents such as insurance information and cash in the kit.

Sometimes, building a kit also means making sure there is a way to pass the time for three days without power.

Collett recommends extra batteries for children’s toys and a few books should be added to emergency kits.

“During the last big snow storm everyone said to ‘hunkerdown’ and that means staying inside for two to three days. If the power is out, how will you spend your time?” she added.

Instructions for more emergency kits and other safety kits are available at