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How to Build a Basic Disaster Emergency Supply Kit

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Orange and Greenish clouds and sky with drops of rain, with the words "National Preparedness Month After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. 

We've experienced the challenges of gathering supplies during COVID-19 sheltering in place.  Many stores were out of basic necessities such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, water and N95 masks along with a list of other items.  How can you be prepared in advance?  Week two of National Preparedness Month helps us with building a kit.  We will provide tips with the help of Ready.gov on putting together your kit based on your family's needs. 

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Week 2 September 5-11: Build A Kit

Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Download a printable version to take with you to the store. Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for seniors or pets (Check out our next Blog for pets.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several 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)
  • 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

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

  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and 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
  • 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 cars.

  • 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.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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