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Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit

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Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you should be prepared. A hazardous material 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. After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives? Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. By being prepared and gathering supplies in advance your family can better survive in an emergency. Families should prepare themselves to be completely self-sufficient for a period of no less than 3 to 5 days.

To Prepare A Kit

  • Make and review a checklist.

  • Gather the supplies that are listed.

  • Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.

  • There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items such as medicine and even extra cash. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container.

  • Possible containers include:

    • a large, covered trash container

    • a camping backpack

    • or a duffle bag

    • a Tupperware style container



  • Store water in plastic containers.  Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as glass bottles.  Food grade drums or jugs are a good choice.

  • Store at least one gallon of water per person- per day.  Don’t forget drinking requirements for any pets.

  • Keep at a minimum a three-day supply of per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts of water for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation.) 


  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

  • Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.

  • If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno.

  • Select food items that are compact and lightweight.

  • Include a selection of Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and non-perishable high protein snacks


First-Aid Kit

Assemble a first-aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first-aid kit should include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes

  • Assorted sizes of safety pins

  • Cleansing agent/soap

  • Latex gloves (2 pair)

  • Sunscreen

  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)

  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)

  • Triangular bandages (3)

  • Non-prescription drugs

  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)

  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Needle

  • Moistened towelettes

  • Antiseptic

  • Thermometer

  • Tongue blades (2)

  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant


Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever

  • Anti-diarrhea medication

  • Antacid (for stomach upset)

  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)

  • Laxative

  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)


Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils

  • Emergency preparedness manual

  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • Cash or traveler's checks, change

  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife

  • Fire extinguisher: small canister A-B-C type

  • Tube tent

  • Pliers

  • Duct Tape

  • Masking Tape

  • Compass

  • Matches in a waterproof container

  • Aluminum foil

  • Plastic storage containers

  • Signal flare

  • Paper, pencil

  • Needles, thread

  • Medicine dropper

  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water

  • Whistle

  • Plastic sheeting

  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)



  • Toilet paper, towelettes

  • Soap, liquid detergent

  • Feminine supplies

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)

  • Plastic bucket with tight lid

  • Disinfectant

  • Household chlorine bleach


Clothing and Bedding

  • At least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots

  • Rain gear

  • Blankets or sleeping bags

  • Bath towels

  • Hat and gloves

  • Thermal underwear

  • Sunglasses


Special Items

Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
For Baby

  • Formula

  • Diapers

  • Bottles

  • Powdered milk

  • Medications

For Adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication

  • Insulin

  • Prescription drugs

  • Denture needs

  • Contact lenses and supplies

  • Extra eye glasses



  • Games and books


Important Family Documents

Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:

  • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds

  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records

  • Bank account numbers

  • Credit card account numbers and companies

  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers

  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)


Storing Your Disaster Kit

Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car. Keep items in air tight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc. Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

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