The best way to prepare for an emergency or disaster is to pre-plan for it. Though first responders will do their best to respond to an emergency, they may not be able to reach everyone immediately.  Help may be hours or even days away. One way to prepare is to assemble a Disaster Supply Kit with enough food, water, medicine, and other supplies to sustain your family for at least three days.

Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit

If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place," having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable. The following supplies should be included in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag, backpack or small plastic trashcan:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day. Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • Nonperishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener. Foods should be low in sodium.
  • Rx's - Medicines both prescribed and over-the-counter.
  • Extra clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • First aid kit and prescription medications.
  • Battery-powered radio or TV and flashlight. Extra batteries.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towlettes and toilet paper)
  • Matches and waterproof container
  • Extra pair of glasses or contacts and cleaning solution
  • Whistle
  • Credit cards and cash
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Contact information of family physicians and other family members
  • Important family information including copies of birth certificates, passports, and licenses and the style and serial number of medical devices
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

Extra copies of essential documents such as powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations, and wills should also be kept in a safe location outside your home. A bank safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives outside of town are ideal for this purpose.

For additional information on what to include in a disaster supply kit, visit:

The American Red Cross