Build a Kit

Preparedness ImageAn emergency supplies kit is simply a collection of items your family may need in an emergency. You likely have most of the items around the house, so it’s just a matter of gathering them together.

Assemble the kit before an emergency in case you need to evacuate. Also, be sure every member of your household knows where the kit is kept.

Keep enough water, food and supplies for three to seven days for each person and pet. You may be on your own for several hours or even days after a disaster since local officials and relief workers cannot reach everyone immediately. Also, basic services like water, gas, electricity, sewage treatment and phones may be out for several days, a week or more.

Being prepared not only increases your and your family’s ability to survive, but also reduces the workload of first responders, emergency medical services, fire fighters and law enforcement.

Basic Supplies

  • Water – 1 gallon per person per day for 3 to 7 days
  • Food – non-perishable and canned food supply for 3 to 7 days
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries
  • Cell phone with charger
  • First aid kit and first aid book
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Important documents – insurance policies, identification, bank account records
  • Fire extinguisher – ABC-type
  • Cash and change
  • Books, games or cards

Emergency Supply List – Use this supplies list to help assemble your emergency supply kit.

Supplies for Unique Needs

Remember the unique needs of your family members, including growing children, when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan.

For Baby:

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Moist towelettes
  • Diaper rash ointment

For Adults:

  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses

Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.

It is important to think about the winter time and cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat. Think about your clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:

  • Jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • Long sleeve shirt

Just as important as putting your supplies together is maintaining them so they are safe to use when needed. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
  • Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
  • Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
  • Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack or duffel bag.

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

Home

Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water and supplies for at least three days.

Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

Additionally, you may want to consider having supplies for sheltering for up to two weeks.

Work

You need to be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Make sure you have food and water and other necessities like medicines in your kit. Also, be sure to have comfortable walking shoes at your workplace in case an evacuation requires walking long distances.

Your kit should also be in one container and ready to “grab and go” in case you are evacuated from your workplace.

Vehicle

In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car. This kit should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
  • Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Also consider:

  • A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child

Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.