Disaster Supplies Kit
After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?
Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.
To prepare your kit:
- Gather the supplies that are listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home.
- Review the checklists in this document.
- Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. These supplies are listed with an asterisk (*).
Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway spill of hazardous material could mean instant evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado or any other disaster could cut off basic services-gas, water, electricity and telephones-for days.
For more information on being prepared for disasters go to Ready.gov
To get started:
- Contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and your local American Red Cross chapter
- Ask how you would be warned.
- Find out how to prepare for each.
- Find out which disasters are most likely to happen in your community.
- Meet with your family
- Discuss the types of disasters that could occur.
- Discuss what to do if advised to evacuate.
- Explain how to prepare and respond.
- Practice what you have discussed.
- Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster.
- Pick two meeting places:
- A location a safe distance from your home in case of fire.
- A place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
- Pick two meeting places:
- Choose an out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call.
- Complete these steps.
- Contact your local fire department to learn about home fire hazards.
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries two times each year.
- Learn first aid and CPR. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information and training.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by every phone.
- Show responsible family members how and when to shut off water, gas and electricity at main switches.
- Complete these steps.
- Meet with your neighbors. Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your neighbors' skills (medical, technical). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home. Remember to practice and maintain your plan.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
*Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
- Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Comfort/stress foods
- Hard candy
- Instant coffee
- Sweetened cereals
- Tea bags
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
- High energy foods
- Granola bars
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Trail mix
- Staples - sugar, salt and pepper
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
There are six basics you should stock in your home:
- Clothing and Bedding
- First Aid Supplies
- Special Items
- Tools and Emergency Supplies
Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container-suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*). Possible containers include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack or a duffle bag.
Tools & Supplies
- Aluminum foil
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
- Cash or traveler's checks, change*
- Emergency preparedness manual*
- Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
- Flashlight and extra batteries*
- Map of the area (for locating shelters)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Medicine dropper
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils*
- Needles, thread
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
- Paper, pencil
- Plastic sheeting
- Plastic storage containers
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Signal flare
- Tube tent
- Feminine supplies*
- Household chlorine bleach
- Personal hygiene items*
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Soap, liquid detergent*
- Toilet paper, towelettes*
Clothing & Bedding
*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
- Blankets or sleeping bags*
- Hat and gloves
- Rain gear*
- Sturdy shoes or work boots*
- Thermal underwear
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
- Powdered milk
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Denture needs
- Extra eye glasses
- Heart and high blood pressure medication
- Prescription drugs
Important Family Documents
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
Suggestions & Reminders
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Keep items in air-tight plastic bags.
- Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Rotate your stored food every six months.
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4 to 6)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4 to 6)
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Latex gloves (2 pair)
- Moistened towelettes
- Non-prescription drugs
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Tongue 2
- Triangular 3
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.
Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household.
- Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation)*