A home disaster preparedness kit should include all of the items you believe may be needed to keep your family safe and comfortable in an emergency. Keep your kit clearly labeled in a cool, dry place where it’s easily accessible when you need it. Be sure to update some of the items regularly, such as food, water, and batteries.
- List of your Emergency Contacts, including a phone number for an out-of-state contact
- Three-day supply of medications, and copies of your prescriptions
- List of personal medical information and medications, including any drug and/or food allergies
- Bottle water
- Snacks (that will not spoil)
- Extra batteries (for flashlight, hearing aids, etc.)
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle, horn, beeper or other device to signal for help
- Photocopy of personal identification (driver’s license, state ID, etc.)
- List of model and serial numbers of any personal assistance equipment (pacemakers, hearing aids, communication devices, scooter, wheelchair, batteries, etc.)
- Assistive items needed for eating or drinking (spoons, straws, etc.)
- Pictures of your family/friends to have with you if you must be away from home
- Personal memento/comfort item (stuffed animal, book, etc.)
- Extra pair of glasses or contact lenses (with cleaning solution), and/or other vital personal items
- Small battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Dust mask
- Protective goggles
- Cash in small bills
- Extra set of keys to house, car, etc.
- Personal hygiene and toiletry products
- Cleaning supplies, including household chlorine bleach
- Moist towelettes and assorted sizes of re-sealable plastic zipper bags (for storing food, waste, etc.)
- Change of socks and undergarments
- Any other items you need on a daily basis
A gallon of water per day
A source of clean water is one of the most important items to have access to during an emergency. At a minimum, you need to have enough water stored to provide a gallon per person, per day over a three-day period. You can purchase bottled water from stores (check expiration dates) or you can refill containers at home.
If you are preparing your own water supply, purchase food-grade containers from surplus or camping stores. Make sure they are cleaned with soap and then thoroughly rinsed to remove any residue. Use plastic containers instead of glass, since they are more durable and temperature-resistant.
If you are re-purposing plastic bottles from other purchases, do not use containers that previously had milk or fruit juices in them. They leave residues that can be hard to remove, which could create bacterial growth in your stored water. Make sure to sanitize the containers using a teaspoon of non-scented household bleach for every quart of water. Then rinse them thoroughly before refilling them with clean water.
If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine:
- Add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to the water.
- Tightly close the container using the original cap.
- Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger.
- Place a date on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it.
- Store in a cool, dark place.
- Replace the water every six months if not using commercially bottled water.
What kind of food should be in your kit
It’s important to have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods. Select items that require no refrigeration, do not need to be cooked, and that require no water to make them. Also consider foods that are compact and lightweight, and that will not make you thirsty.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Staples such as sugar, salt, pepper
- High energy foods – peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix (try to find low-salt options)
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons with special dietary needs
- Comfort/stress foods – cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
If you must cook food, pack a can of Sterno. Grills should only be operated outdoors.
First aid kits
While many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention, knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, through the American Red Cross.
- Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex)
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
- Burn ointment to prevent infection
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
- A pair of scissors and tweezers
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for upset stomach)
- Cold medications