Don’t Forget the Can Opener!

    The Challenge

    Create an easy-to-use way for people to develop their own, custom checklists – both items and plans – for specific kinds of disasters. Use NASA images, videos, or data visualizations to illustrate each disaster type, to help people understand how to prepare.


    When Earth surprises you, make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit. In fact, have more than a kit – know your disaster, and know your plan.

    Some things everybody always needs – water, food, a family meetup/contact plan – but some things are specific to your family (e.g., medicines, diapers) and some items/preparations are specific to certain disasters and situations, for example: plywood for boarding windows before typhoons; face masks for dust, ash, or smog; a go-bag for bugging out; or a safe refuge for you and your pets.

    What you develop should help people understand the different kinds of preparedness for each disaster – what are the main threats for each? For example, in an impending storm, people tend to think about the wind, but it’s often the storm surge or flooding that hold the potential for greatest harm; when a volcano erupts, it’s not just the lava – it’s the ash that falls, and the noxious gases in the air, too.

    Potential Considerations

    Different surprises need different strategies. Help people know whether they are likely to need a go-bag for evacuating, or a kit and plan for sheltering in place, and what should go in each. Help them figure out what order to do things in. Illustrate and explain each disaster type with one or more NASA images, videos, or data visualizations, so that people genuinely understand what they are preparing for. Whatever you design, have it be something that can still be used when the internet goes down. You might have it prompt people to think about their own special-need items and things they might be forgetting – and have it warn them if their virtual go-bag gets too heavy to carry!

    NASA Logo

    SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.