Disaster Preparations – Emergency Supplies Kit


A Disaster or Emergency Supplies Kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency because will not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them and you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer – so your emergency supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

Assemble one kit for your home – to shelter-in-place, a mobile kit – in case you have to evacuate at a moments notice, and one for your vehicle – in case you are stranded.

Types of Emergency Supplies Kits

Depending on the situation, you may need three different types of disaster emergency supplies kits:

An emergency may require you to “shelter in place” or stay in your home. It is important to have enough emergency supplies to ensure that you can survive without access to basic goods & services: water, food, electricity, sanitation/hygiene, etc.

Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry and covered plastic containers in the driest and coolest spot in the house - a dark area if possible.

A mobile or portable emergency supplies kit allows you to “grab and go” in the event you need to evacuate your home or workplace in a hurry. A duffle bag or backpack is a perfect size (in a larger household, make several kits).

In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle. This kit should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
  • Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Also consider:

  • A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child

Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.

Contents of Emergency Supplies Kit

To prepare your kit (compiled from various sources), review guidelines and gather the supplies below:


Stocking water reserves should be a top priority. Keep at least a five-day supply of water for each person in your household.

  • Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation). A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.
  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
  • Never ration water, unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
  • Before storing water that has been filled by faucet, treat it with a disinfectant, such as chlorine bleach, to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Use liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite and no soap. Add four drops of bleach per quart of water (or two scant teaspoons per 10 gallons), and stir. Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.
  • In an emergency, you can use chlorine bleach to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Can also be used as a disinfectant. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Water in swimming pools and spas can be used only for flushing toilets.
  • Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.


Store at least a 3-5 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 the following foods in your kit:

  • Ready-to-eat grains, canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Comfort/stress foods - cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
  • Grains - breads, dry cereals, crackers, biscuits
  • High energy foods - peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
  • Fruits - canned (in juice) and dried
  • Meats - Smoked or dried (jerky)
  • Milk - canned and boxed shelf-stable;
  • Soups - bouillon cubes or dried soups in a cup
  • Sugar, salt, and pepper
  • Vegetables - canned (your favorites);
  • Vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets

Note: Rotate your stored food every six months - date each food item with a marker.

You should also have items and utensils to open, cook and eat your food:

  • Metal top bottle opener and manual can-opener
  • Heating/Cooking Source - such as solid fuel for camping
  • Plates/Cups/Utensils - mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and non-breakable utensils


First Aid Kit 

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

  • Adhesive hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Applicators - Cotton tip
  • Antacids
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Antiseptic solution/wipes
  • Baking soda
  • Bandages and gauze pads
    • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
    • Triangular bandages (3)
    • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
    • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
    • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
    • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Cotton balls
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Eye medication
  • First aid manual - contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual
  • Heat bag/compress
  • Ice bag/cold compress
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)
  • Laxatives
  • Medical alert tags
  • Medicine dropper
  • Medicines (prescription and non-prescription)
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Needle
  • Nose drops (water soluble)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plastic bags with fasteners
  • Prescribed medical supplies
  • Safety pins - assorted sizes
  • Scissors
  • Smelling salts
  • Soap - Antibacterial
  • Splints - wooden, 18 inches long
  • Sunscreen
  • Table salt
  • Toothache remedy
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers

Non-prescription medicines

  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Laxative
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Sanitation and Hygiene

Having supplies on hand for emergency sanitation will help your family remain healthy following any disaster. Dangers like raw sewage, industrial chemicals and floating debris will be in standing water. Moreover, without good hygiene and sanitation diseases like diarrhea and typhoid bloom.


  • Toilet paper, paper towels, towelettes
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • A folding shovel to bury waste - until you are able to dispose of it properly
  • A plastic shower curtain, shower rings and line to make a simple privacy enclosure for your potty


  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Washcloth and small towels
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hair car items, shaving kit
  • Feminine supplies
  • Contact lens Solution
  • Insect repellant and/or insecticide
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Mirror


Clothing and Bedding

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person - appropriate for season and weather conditions. Also include:

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Hat and gloves
  • Outer-wear - rain gear, coats, jackets, boots, ponchos
  • Thermal underwear
  • Blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags
  • Sunglasses

Tools and Hardware

  • Aluminum foil
  • Batteries
  • Battery-operated or hand-crank radio
  • Cellphone charger - solar
  • Compass
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Generator - Portable
  • Lantern and Fuel
  • Maps - of the area and for locating shelters
  • Mask - N95 rated particulate filter mask (protects against dust, radiological dust and biological agents)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Needles, thread
  • Paper, pencil
  • Plastic bags - sealable and airtight
  • Plastic sheeting with duct tape
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Scissors
  • Shovel
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Signal flare
  • Tape
  • Tent - foldable
  • Tools - basic hand tools, non-powered - crowbar, hammer, nails pliers, screwdrivers, staple gun, wrenches
  • Utility knife
  • Whistle


  • Books, magazines, games, puzzles or other activities, e-book reader with charger
  • Camera or cellphone camera
  • Cash, credit cards, traveler's checks and change
  • Cellphone - extra - with car charger
  • Important Records (Keep records in a waterproof, portable container)
    • Family and emergency contact information
    • Important documents
    • Important names and accounts
    • Video record of home contents - digital or tape
  • Keys - originals and spare
  • Survival manuals, medical self-help books, other reading materials


Special Needs

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

For Baby:

  • Bottles and nipples
  • Clothes
  • Diapers
  • Food
  • Formula or Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Portable crib
  • Powders, creams or ointments
  • Sheets, blankets, rubber pads
  • Small toys

For Elderly and Disabled:

  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Denture needs
  • Diabetes Issues
    • Insulin, syringes and cool insulated container
    • Lancets and lancing device
    • Meter and extra batteries
    • Medical waste container
  • Eye glasses - extra
  • Food - consider special dietary needs, such as low-sodium, high-fiber, or other special foods
  • Hearing aid and extra batteries
  • Hearing issues - consider getting a weather radio with a visual/text display that warns of weather emergencies
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • ID bracelet or necklace for persons with Alzheimer's
  • Medical alert tag or bracelet
  • Medical devices (i.e. pacemakers) - list of serial numbers and styles
  • Persons with Incontinence
    • Incontinence under garments
    • Disposable wipes
    • Cleansing products
  • Prescription drugs and Photocopies of all prescription drugs with dosage, directions, interactions, refill dates
  • Service animal supplies
  • Vision issues - mark your disaster supplies with fluorescent tape, large print or Braille
  • Wheelchair - keep a lightweight manual wheelchair as a backup



  • Cage or carrier
  • Chew toys
  • Collar and leash
  • Food, water and dishes
  • ID tags (2 sets, one on the animal and one extra) with name and your contact information
  • Medications and pet first aid supplies
  • Medical and vaccination records
  • Proof of ownership (e.g., registration papers and pictures)
  • Veterinarian's phone number and address


Contents of Car Supplies Kit

Car Supply Kit Contents