Get a Kit: Family
Having emergency supplies and disaster supply kits for you and your family gives you peace of mind before an emergency and a major survival advantage during and after a disaster.
If the life and the infrastructure you depend on is interrupted or drastically changed because of an unexpected emergency or disaster, you need the necessary provisions of health, safety, survival, and some comfort. Having complete disaster supply kits in all of the places where you spend time and other necessary supplies stored for you and your family, helps you to "be ready" for days, weeks, months, or longer.
- Gather supplies for disaster supply kits for each member of your family or household
- Store other emergency supplies according to your needs and abilities following the Twelve Areas of Emergency Preparedness
- Remember specific needs of elderly, children, those with access and functional needs, and pets when gathering supplies
- Prepare other kits as needed for vehicles, work, school, and every-day-carry
- Create a prioritized evacuation grab list
Disaster Supply Kit
When people think of emergency preparedness the first thing that comes to mind is what was once called a “72-Hour Kit.” We are now encouraged to assemble a “disaster supply kit” with as much as a five-day supply of food, water and other emergency supplies and tools. You will find a suggested disaster supply kit list here. But the thing to remember is no matter what list you use, personalize your kit. If there is something you need to be healthy, happy and comfortable every day then try to put some of it in your kit.
Whether you are evacuating or sheltering at home, a disaster supply kit helps you survive for three days, five days, or longer until the incident is over or until help arrives.
This kit does not have to cost a lot of money. Most items can be gathered from around your home. If nothing else, put kit items into a plastic grocery bag until you are able to get something better. Whatever you do, put a kit together today!
Don’t forget to add necessary items to kits for children and those with access and functional needs.
Remember these disaster supply kit rules:
- Store disaster supply kits in a backpack, wheeled suitcase, or other portable container in an easy-access location, as near as possible to an exit
- Have a separate kit for each family member
- Items susceptible to water damage should be in plastic bags
- Check kit twice a year and replace items that have expired or don’t work
Follow this link for a suggested items list for your own disaster supply kit. You can find many lists for disaster supply kits, 72-hour kits, go-bags, or whatever you want to call them. The important thing to remember is that any list is someone else's idea about what is important to include. Use this and other lists for ideas and tips about what to include, but personalize your kit to meet your own needs and abilities.
Unless you need to evacuate, the safest place for you to be in an emergency is right at home where you have a good shelter, family and friends, and your supplies. Most incidents only last a few days and your disaster supply kits are enough to get you through. Yet, some emergencies are longer than just a few days. You need to have additional supplies at home of shelter, water, food, and other essentials to help you survive longer term emergencies. See our Twelve Areas of Emergency Preparedness for ideas on what, why, how, and how much of other supplies to have in your emergency storage.
You spend about 50% of your day away from home. It is important to have basic disaster supplies wherever you spend time. Make smaller disaster supply kits appropriate for work, school, and wherever you and your family spend time outside of your home. Work and school kits should be small enough to fit in a desk or locker and their contents should conform to work or school rules and policies.
Have an emergency kit in the car to help you and your family be ready for an accident, breakdown, getting lost, or other vehicle related emergency. Follow this link on the second page for a suggested items list for your own vehicle emergency kits. Have one in each vehicle. Remember that items in this kit will experience extremes in both hot and cold temperatures, so only include items that can withstand the temperatures. You may need to rotate items more frequently as well.
Infant Disaster Supply Kit
Prepare a disaster supply kit for your baby according to his or her needs and abilities. Update every 2 to 3 months or as needs change. Suggested items may include but are not limited to:
- At least four days of diapers and wipes
- Baby powder and diaper cream
- Specific hygiene needs
- Changing pad
- Two to three sets clothing and bib
- Bottle or sippy-cup
- Bottle brush
- Toys and pacifier
- Formula and/or baby food
- Baby spoon and dish
- Baby vitamins and pain reliever
- Water in a refillable container
- Cold weather clothing as necessary
Pet Disaster Supply Kit
Pets are part of the family too. All too often, pets are left behind in disasters to fend for themselves. This creates a safety problem for the pets as well as for the rescuers. Remember the needs of your furry, feathered, fanged, and fishy friends. Suggested items may include but are not limited to:
- Pet blanket
- Pet carrier
- Water, pet food, and bowl
- Pet waste bags
- Cat litter box and scoop
- Pet first aid kit
- Flea and tick repellent
- Pet sweater
- Pet toys
- Can opener
- Vaccination/medical records
- License/adoption records
What’s in your pocket? Emergencies happen when least expected and tend to be when you are the least prepared. It is a good idea to carry a few things to help you survive an unexpected event for a few hours, until you are able to get home and to your preparedness supplies. Carry these items every day in your pockets,
purse, or in a small pack. Use discretion and follow the rules and policies of where you are going when deciding what to carry with you. Suggested items may include but are not limited to:
- Pocketknife or multi-tool
- Mobile phone
- Written copy of important contacts
- Energy bar
- Water bottle
- Pocket first aid kit
- Adhesive bandages
- Non-latex gloves
- Alcohol pad
- Rescue breathing barrier
- Pad of paper and pencil
- Personal medications
- Personal medical and allergy information
- Hand sanitizer
Prioritized Evacuation Grab List
If you have some time before you need to evacuate, don’t spend that time thinking about what additional things to pack. Have a pre-thought-out, grab list that has your valuable items that are too large or impractical to have as part of your disaster supply kits. Prioritize the list so the most important items are grabbed first. If you have 15 minutes, grab your family, disaster supply kits, and start collecting things from the top of the list. At 15 minutes, wherever you are on the list, you stop gathering and go. Attach your grab list to the outside of your disaster supply kit. Remember, this is your list. Personalize it to what is valuable to you.
Some grab list items may include but are not limited to:
- Additional food and water
- Additional blankets
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Portable toilet
- Portable solar kit
- Portable generator
- 2-way radios
- Family heirlooms/records/photo albums
- Jewelry and valuables
- Religious items
- Laptop/external hard drive
- Wagon or cart if unable to use vehicle
- Emergency preparedness reference books
- Camping supplies
- Valuable collections
- Anything that is of value to you