Emergencies can happen when you least expect it. They can be a life threatening event like a tornado, fire, or flood or they can be uncertain but minor, like a power outage or being stuck in traffic. Having an emergency survival kit, ready to go, can help reduce stress and keep your family safe and calm when there is no outside help available. Additionally, an emergency kit can help save precious time by not having to search for important necessities that can cost valuable time when evacuating.
Below are the supplies that are recommended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)1 and by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)2 to keep in your emergency survival kit. Pack your supplies in a backpack, duffle bag, fishing box, or in any other easily moveable and storable containers.
- Water – one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Food - easy to prepare non-perishable food (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Radio - battery powered or hand crank (consider a NOAA Weather Radio with tone Alert)
- First aid kit (bandages, face masks, gloves, antibiotic ointment, reference book, etc.)
- Multi-tool and/or knife
- Whistle and/or a small mirror to signal for help
- Extra cash
- Prescription medications
- Moist towelettes, toilet paper, garbage bags & plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers for shutting off utilities
- Fire starter or matches in a waterproof container
- Local maps and emergency contact information
- Cell phone with chargers and a back up battery (think about a solar powered charger)
- Emergency blanket
The DHS and CDC also recommend that you consider adding the following items to your emergency survival kit based on your family’s individual needs and the types of disasters common to your area:
- Non prescription medications (pain relievers, allergy, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids and laxatives)
- Glasses, contact lenses, syringes, hearing aids, etc..
- Baby supplies (infant formula, bottles, diapers, baby food, etc.)
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape for sheltering in place
- Electronically saved, and kept in a portable waterproof container, important family document such as copies of identification, insurance policies, and bank account records.
- Warm blanket or sleeping bag for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for climate and sturdy walking shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
- Dust mask
- Fire extinguisher
- 2 way radio
- Manual can opener for food
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, eating utensils, paper cups and plates
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles and other activities for children
After assembling your kit, monthly inspect and replace items that have been removed. Ensure that food is stored in sealed containers and kept in a cool dry place. Annually, adjust your kit according to your family's needs and replace expired items.
Prioritization & Storage
Since an emergency can occur at any time the DHS recommends keeping an emergency survival kit at home, work and in vehicles. Prioritize assembling these kits according to where you think you will most likely be when the disaster occurs.
Home – Have this kit stored where it can be readily retrieved if you have to leave home quickly. Be sure that all family members know where the kit is kept. Some items in your kit may be hazardous to children so keep it easy to get to, but hidden enough so children can’t get into it. Also, ensure that your kit is protected from animals and pests.
Work – Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a in an easily transportable case or lidded bucket. (Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours.)
Vehicle –Keep a small emergency kit in each vehicle you own. Essential supplies should include jumper cables and a first aid kit. Depending on your family’s needs, and the type of travel difficulties you could encounter, consider adding items like a rain poncho, multi-tool, energy bars, water, duct tape, fuses, tissue, emergency blanket, games for the kids and a flashlight.
Finally, the key is to start on your kit. You may not have all the items listed but keep a checklist and add supplies to your kit on a regular basis. www.emergencysuppliesdirect.com has a wide variety of specialty survival kits that are tailored for specific emergencies and needs as well as a large selection of premium survival food, multi-tools, portable power, water treatment, first aid kits and more. We are very happy to answer any questions you may have.
1 Ready, Official website of the Department of Homeland Security. Plan Ahead for Disasters, Talk with your family. Retrieved from https://www.ready.gov/
2 Stephens, Kara, et all. (2013, March). All Hazards Preparedness Guide. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cpr/documents/AHPG_FINAL_March_2013.pdf