Disaster Supplies Kit 

Why Talk About a Disaster Supplies Kit?

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(PDF File of this Page) After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Basic services, such as electricity, gas, water, and telephones, may be cut off, or you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice. You probably won’t have time to shop or search for the supplies you’ll need. Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes.

What Is a Disaster Supplies Kit?

Assembling the supplies you might need following a disaster is an important part of your Family Disaster Plan. Following a disaster, having extra supplies 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 about Disaster Supplies Kits by contacting your local emergency management agency or your local American Red Cross chapter.

Awareness Information

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 batteries as necessary. Children might make calendars or posters with the appropriate dates marked on them. Ask children to think of items that they would like to include in their own Disaster Supplies Kit, such as books or games or appropriate nonperishable food items.

Prepare Your Kit

Tips for Your Disaster Supplies Kit

Disaster Supplies Kit Basics

The following items might be needed at home or for an evacuation. Keeping 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 place known to all family members. Kit basics are: If you have additional space, consider adding some of the items from your Evacuation Supplies Kit.

Evacuation Supplies Kit

Place in an easy-to-carry container the supplies you would most likely need if you were to be away from home for several days.  Label the container clearly. Remember to include:

Disaster Supplies Kit basics.

Remember to consider the needs of very young and older family members, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

To Build a Makeshift Toilet

Line a bucket with a garbage bag and make a toilet seat out of two boards placed parallel to each other across the bucket. After each use, pour a disinfectant such as bleach (1 part liquid chlorine bleach 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 in use.

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 downhill or away from any well, spring, or water supply.

Home Disaster Supplies Kit

In addition to your Disaster Supplies Kit basics and Evacuation Supplies Kit, gathering the following items will help your family endure home confinement, which often happens following disasters and may include the loss of utilities. Also, consider using a NOAA Weather Radio with the tone-alert feature in your home. NOAA Weather Radio is the best means for receiving warnings from the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service continuously broadcasts updated weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather Radios sold in many stores. NOAA Weather Radio now broadcasts warning and postevent information for all types of hazards--both natural (such as earthquakes 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 System, NOAA Weather Radio is an "all hazards" radio network, making it the single source for the most comprehensive weather and emergency information available to the public. Your National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) feature, which automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued for your county, giving you immediate 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.


Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. Water needs to be treated only if it is of questionable purity.


Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two weeks, you should consider preparing a supply that will last that long. The easiest way to develop a two-week stockpile is to increase the amount of basic foods you normally keep on your shelves. If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don’t stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Familiar foods can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won’t require cooking, water, or special preparation. 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: Also consider: Food options to avoid: If your electricity goes off: Remember to store nonperishable foods for your pets.

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your Disaster Supplies Kit and one for each car.

The basics for your first aid kit include: Have the following nonprescription drugs in your Disaster Supplies Kit: Add any necessary prescription and nonprescription drugs.
Add special needs for infants, elderly persons, or anyone with serious allergies.

Important Documents

Keep the following original documents in a safe deposit box if possible, and copies in a waterproof, fire-resistant portable container:
For information pertaining to emergency planning and response in your own state, please see our state pages:
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