Preparing and maintaining an emergency supply kit is a simple and effective way to sustain you and your family following a disaster. Officials and relief workers cannot immediately reach everyone in the aftermath of a disaster. It may take hours or even days for help to arrive. An emergency supplies kit contains the tools your family needs to survive during that period. Depending on the nature of the disaster, evacuation may be required. Keeping a portable emergency supply kit will assist in a speedy evacuation, ensuring you have everything you need until you return home. Emergency supplies kits are great for at home, at work, or in your vehicle.
What to Include:
A basic emergency supplies kit should include the following items:
Bottled water (three-day supply of four quarts per person per day)
Food (three-day supply of non-perishable foods such as canned meats, fruits and vegetables)
Can opener, pocket knife, eating utensils, cups, plates and bowls
First-aid kit and at least a 30 day supply of prescription medicines
Whistle to signal for help
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Tools, tape, plastic sheeting, signal flares and matches
Sanitation products such as moist towelettes, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, detergent, bleach and disinfectant
Clothing and bedding for each family member
Special items for babies, the elderly, disabled persons or others with special needs
Cash or traveler's checks
Important documents (kept in waterproof containers) such as insurance policies, deeds, titles, stocks, birth certificates, passports, wills, immunization records, etc.
If you have a pet, include pet food, a carrier or cage, and, where appropriate, a leash in your supplies.
Garbage bags and plastic ties
Prescription medications and glasses
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Matches in a waterproof container
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
Paper and pencil
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long nights and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
In addition to building a basic kit, consider including unique items that might apply to you and your family. Examples include:
Infant formula and diapers
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Extra eyeglasses or contacts, and cleaning solution
Storing and Maintaining Your Kit
When building your kit be sure to identify where and how your emergency supplies will be stored. Kits should be portable in case you need to “grab and go” during a disaster. Storing your items in one or two easy to carry containers will expedite moving your kit during an evacuation. Always keep your kit in a designated area and make sure all family members are aware of its location. Remember to refresh your kit periodically. Even non-perishable foods have a shelf life and eventually require replacement. Also, as your family changes so should your kit. Make sure to update items in your kit to reflect the current needs of your family. Review your emergency supply kit every six months to ensure all items are up to date.