Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you should be prepared. A hazardous materials incident could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. A tornado or any other disaster could cut water, electricity and telephones for days. Is your family ready?  


Why is it important to prepare?

First responders cannot always reach disaster survivors quickly, so it is important to be able to take care of injured or disabled family members until help arrives. Citizens can help by learning first aid or volunteering with other local organizations.Everyone should have an emergency kit with enough supplies to survive for 10 days, including water, non-perishable food, non-electric can openers, flashlights, batteries, cash and important family documents. Children also should be allowed to include favorite small toys or games.Children should be encouraged to participate in any family emergency planning. Teach kids how to communicate during an emergency, including how to dial 9-1-1 or send text messages. Practicing a plan also helps children know what to do during a disaster.Budget concerns can keep families from buying all the items necessary for an emergency kit. However, it is not essential to make all the purchases at once. Families are encouraged to spread out the purchase of supplies and make use of coupons and discounts. Buying used radios and flashlights also can be more affordable.An emergency plan should also include ensuring those with disabilities or special needs have a proper evacuation plan. Plan transportation needs ahead of time and make sure those with medical needs have backup power for equipment.  Federal Coordinating Office Michael Byrne said "citizens are our best first responders. “This is when neighbor helping neighbor is not just a phrase or an idea, but reality,” he said. “They all contribute to the response from local, federal and private sector partners.”For more information on how to better prepare for disasters and tips on developing a family emergency kit, visit Visit this link to learn more about how to be the help until help arrives.  


Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery


Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lenses solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children


Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.


Kit Storage Locations

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

  • Home: 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.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car