Disaster Supplies Kit
Why Talk About a Disaster Supplies Kit?
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After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the
but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in
or it may take days. Basic services, such as electricity, gas, water,
telephones, may be cut off, or you may have to evacuate at a
You probably won’t have time to shop or search for the
need. Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it
What Is a Disaster Supplies Kit?
Assembling the supplies you might need following a disaster is an
part of your Family Disaster Plan. Following a disaster, having extra
at home or supplies to take with you in the event of an evacuation can
help your family endure evacuation or home confinement. Learn more
Disaster Supplies Kits by contacting your local emergency management
or your local American
Red Cross chapter.
Involve Children in Disaster Preparedness.
Ask children to help you remember to keep
your kits in working
order by changing the food and water every six months and replacing
as necessary. Children might make calendars or posters with
dates marked on them. Ask children to think of items that they would
to include in their own Disaster Supplies Kit, such as books or games
appropriate nonperishable food items.
Prepare Your Kit
Tips for Your Disaster Supplies Kit
- Keep a smaller Disaster Supplies Kit in the
trunk of each car. If
you become stranded or are not able to return home, having some items
help you to be more comfortable until help arrives.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
This will help protect them
from damage or spoiling.
- Replace stored food and water every six months.
Replacing your food
and water supplies will help ensure their freshness.
- Rethink your kit and family needs at least once
a year. Replace
batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing
It may be difficult to obtain prescription medications during a
because stores may be closed or supplies may be limited.
- Use an easy-to-carry container for the supplies
you would most likely
need for an evacuation. Label it clearly. Possible containers
- A large, covered trash container.
- A camping backpack.
- A duffel bag.
- A cargo container that will fit on the roof of your
Disaster Supplies Kit Basics
The following items might be needed at home or for an
them in an easy-to-carry backpack or duffel bag near your door would be
best in case you need to evacuate quickly, such as in a tsunami, flash
flood, or major chemical emergency. Store your kit in a convenient
known to all family members. Kit basics are:
If you have additional space, consider adding some of the items from
Evacuation Supplies Kit.
- A portable, battery-powered radio or television
and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and first aid manual.
- Supply of prescription medications.
- Credit card and cash.
- Personal identification.
- An extra set of car keys.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Signal flare.
- Map of the area and phone numbers of places you
- Special needs, for example, diapers or
formula, prescription medicines
and copies of prescriptions, hearing aid batteries, spare wheelchair
spare eyeglasses, or other physical needs.
Evacuation Supplies Kit
Place in an easy-to-carry container the supplies you would
need if you were to be away from home for several days. Label
container clearly. Remember to include:
Disaster Supplies Kit basics.
Remember to consider the needs of very young and older family
such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
- Three gallons of water per person.
- Three-day supply of nonperishable food.
- Kitchen accessories: manual can
opener; mess kits or paper cups,
plates, and plastic/disposable utensils; utility knife; a can of
fuel if food must be cooked; household liquid bleach to treat drinking
water; sugar, salt, pepper; aluminum foil; plastic resealable bags.
- One complete change of clothing and footwear for
each family member,
sturdy shoes or workboots, raingear, hat and gloves, thermal underwear,
- Blankets or sleeping bag for each
- Tools and other accessories: paper,
pencil; needles and thread;
pliers, shut-off wrench, shovels, and other useful tools; tape;
dropper; whistle; plastic sheeting; small canister, A-B-C-type fire
emergency preparedness manual; tube tent; compass.
- Sanitation and hygiene items: toilet
paper, towelettes; soap, hand
sanitizer, liquid detergent; feminine supplies; personal items such as
shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm;
plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties (for personal sanitation
medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid; disinfectant; household
bleach; small shovel for digging an expedient latrine.
- Entertainment, such as games and books.
- For baby: formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk,
- For adults: heart and high blood pressure medication,
drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies, extra eyeglasses,
hearing aid batteries.
To Build a Makeshift Toilet
Line a bucket with a garbage bag and make a
out of two boards placed parallel to each other across the bucket.
each use, pour a disinfectant such as bleach (1 part liquid chlorine
to 10 parts water) into the garbage bag. This will help avoid infection
and stop the spread of disease. Cover the bucket tightly when it is not
Bury garbage and human waste to avoid the spread of
disease by rats
and insects. Dig a pit two to three feet deep and at least 50 feet
or away from any well, spring, or water supply.
Home Disaster Supplies Kit
In addition to your Disaster Supplies Kit basics and Evacuation
Kit, gathering the following items will help your family endure home
which often happens following disasters and may include the loss of
Also, consider using a NOAA Weather Radio with the
in your home. NOAA Weather Radio is the best means for receiving
from the National
Service. The National Weather Service continuously
weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather
sold in many stores. NOAA Weather Radio now broadcasts
postevent information for all types of hazards--both natural (such as
and volcanic activity) and technological (such as chemical releases or
oil spills). Working with other federal agencies and the Federal
Communications Commission’s new Emergency Alert
Weather Radio is an "all hazards" radio network, making it
source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information
to the public. Your National Weather Service recommends
radio that has both a battery backup and a Specific
Area Message Encoder (SAME) feature, which
you when a watch or warning is issued for your county, giving you
information about a life-threatening situation. The average range is 40
miles, depending on topography; the National Weather Radio signal is a
line-of-sight signal, which does not bore through hills or mountains.
- Wrench to turn off household gas and water. Keep it near
the shut-off valves.
- A week’s supply of food and water.
- Additional blankets and sleeping bags.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an
Water needs to be treated only if it is of questionable purity.
- Store water in plastic containers, such as soft
drink plastic bottles.
Seal containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place.
water every six months. Avoid using containers that will decompose or
such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water, or a
minimum of three gallons
per person. It is strongly recommended to have more if
one-half gallon per day for drinking, and one-half gallon for cooking
sanitation. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts
of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can
that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
Store your three-day supply in a handy place. You need to have water
and ready in case there is no time to fill water bottles when disaster
- Boiling is the safest method of treating water.
Strain water through
a clean cloth to remove bulk impurities. Bring water to a rolling boil
for about one full minute, keeping in mind that some water will
Let the water cool before drinking. Boiled water will taste better if
put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two
clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.
- You can use household liquid bleach to kill
only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium
hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe
bleaches, or bleaches
with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of
and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight
odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still
not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping
surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent hypochlorite as the
active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
- Distillation involves boiling water and then
collecting the vapor that
condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not
or other solid impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water.
a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will
up when the lid is upside down (make sure the cup is not touching the
and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid
the cup is distilled.
- Melt ice cubes or use water from undamaged hot
water tanks, toilet
tanks (not the bowl), and water pipes if you need additional water.
- If you need to find water outside of your home,
you can use rainwater;
streams, rivers, and other moving bodies of water; ponds and lakes; and
natural springs. If you question its purity, be sure to treat
water first. Avoid water with floating material, an odor, or
color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first. Do NOT
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off
supply for two weeks, you should consider preparing a supply that will
last that long. The easiest way to develop a two-week
to increase the amount of basic foods you normally keep on your
If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in
and protein, and don’t stock salty foods, since they will
make you thirsty.
foods can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress.
Also, canned foods won’t require cooking, water, or special
Take into account your family’s unique needs and
tastes. Try to include
foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories, protein,
carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Recommended foods include:
- Pack at least a three-day supply of
nonperishable food and water, and
store it in a handy place. You need to have these items
ready in case there is no time to gather food from the kitchen when
- Select foods that require no refrigeration,
preparation, or cooking,
and little or no water. Foods that are compact and lightweight are easy
to store and carry.
- If you must heat food, pack a can of cooking
- Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain
cereals, and canned food
with high liquid content.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Canned juice, milk, and soup (if powdered, store extra
- High-energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers,
and trail mix.
- Comfort foods, such as hard candy, sweetened cereals, candy
bars, and cookies.
- Instant coffee, tea bags.
- Foods for infants, elderly persons, or persons on special
diets, if necessary.
Food options to avoid:
- Compressed food bars. They store well, are lightweight,
taste good, and
- Trail mix. Available prepackaged, or assemble your own.
- Dried foods. They can be nutritious and satisfying, but
contain a lot of
salt, which promotes thirst.
- Freeze-dried foods. They are tasty and lightweight, but
will need water
- Instant meals. Cups of noodles or cups of soup are a good
they need water for reconstitution.
- Snack-sized canned goods. Good because they generally have
or twist-open keys.
- Prepackaged beverages. Those in foil packets and foil-lined
boxes are suitable
because they are tightly sealed and will keep for a long time.
If your electricity goes off:
- Commercially dehydrated foods. They can require a great
deal of water for
reconstitution and extra effort in preparation.
- Bottled foods. They are generally too heavy and bulky, and
- Meal-sized canned foods. They are usually bulky and heavy.
- Whole grains, beans, pasta. Preparation could be
complicated under the
circumstances of a disaster.
First, use perishable food and foods from the refrigerator.
Remember to store nonperishable foods for your pets.
Then, use the foods from the freezer. To minimize
of times you open the freezer door, post a list of freezer contents on
it. In a well-filled, well-insulated freezer, foods will usually still
have ice crystals in their centers (meaning foods are safe to eat) for
at least three days.
Finally, begin to use nonperishable foods and staples.
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your Disaster Supplies Kit and
The basics for your first aid kit include:
Have the following nonprescription drugs in your Disaster
- First aid manual.
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes.
- Assorted sizes of safety pins.
- Cleansing agent/soap.
- Latex gloves (2 pairs).
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6).
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6).
- Triangular bandages (3).
- Nonprescription drugs.
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls).
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls).
- Moistened towelettes.
- Tongue depressor blades (2).
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant.
Add any necessary prescription and nonprescription drugs.
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever.
- Antidiarrhea medication.
- Antacid (for stomach upset).
- Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the poison control
Add special needs for infants, elderly persons, or anyone with
Keep the following original documents in a safe deposit box if
and copies in a waterproof, fire-resistant portable container:
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records.
- Bank account numbers.
- Credit card account numbers and companies.
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).
Produced by the National Disaster
Education Coalition: American
Red Cross, FEMA,
IAEM, IBHS, NFPA, NWS, USDA/CSREES,
and USGS. HTML
formating By the
From: Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard
by the National Disaster Education Coalition, Washington, D.C., 1999.
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