How to Build an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit is a crucial component of your disaster preparedness plan. It provides essential items you and your family need to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Here's a step-by-step guide to building a comprehensive emergency kit that ensures you are well-prepared for any emergency.

Basic Supplies

  1. Water:

    • Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days.

    • Consider additional water for pets and for sanitation needs.

  2. Food:

    • A three-day supply of non-perishable food.

    • Include a manual can opener if your food is canned.

  3. First Aid Kit:

    • Adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, scissors, tweezers, and a thermometer.

    • Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, and laxatives.

    • Prescription medications (a seven-day supply is ideal).

  4. Tools and Supplies:

    • Flashlight with extra batteries.

    • Multi-purpose tool or knife.

    • Whistle to signal for help.

    • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air.

    • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

  5. Sanitation:

    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties.

    • Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine hygiene products, etc.).

  6. Clothing and Bedding:

    • A complete change of clothing for each person, including sturdy shoes.

    • Blankets or sleeping bags.

Important Documents

  1. Identification:

    • Copies of IDs, passports, and birth certificates.

    • Emergency contact information.

  2. Financial Documents:

    • Copies of insurance policies, bank account records, and credit card information.

    • Cash or traveler's checks.

  3. Medical Records:

    • Copies of medical prescriptions and health insurance cards.

Communication Plan

  1. Family Plan:

    • Designate a meeting place if separated.

    • Identify an out-of-town contact for everyone to check in with.

  2. Emergency Contacts:

    • List of emergency contacts (family, friends, local emergency services).

    • Contact information for schools, workplaces, and childcare providers.

Home Safety

  1. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

    • Ensure they are installed and working properly.

    • Test monthly and replace batteries as needed.

  2. Fire Extinguishers:

    • Have at least one fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location.

    • Know how to use it properly.

  3. Utility Shut-Off:

    • Learn how to turn off gas, water, and electricity in an emergency.

    • Ensure everyone in the household knows where the shut-off valves are located.

Pet Preparedness

  1. Pet Supplies:

    • Food, water, and bowls.

    • Leash, harness, and carrier.

    • Medications and veterinary records.

    • Current photo in case you are separated.

Vehicle Emergency Kit

  1. Vehicle Kit:

    • Jumper cables.

    • Flashlight with extra batteries.

    • First aid kit.

    • Basic tools (screwdrivers, pliers, wrench).

    • Blanket, maps, and emergency contact information.

    • Non-perishable food and bottled water.

Special Considerations

  1. For Infants and Young Children:

    • Formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.

    • Favorite toys, books, and games.

  2. For Elderly or Disabled Individuals:

    • Medical devices and spare batteries.

    • Mobility aids (canes, walkers, wheelchairs).

  3. For Chronic Medical Conditions:

    • Extra supplies of medications and medical equipment.

    • Medical alert tags or bracelets.

Maintenance and Review

  1. Review and Update:

    • Review your emergency kit every six months.

    • Replace expired items and update documents as needed.

  2. Practice Drills:

    • Conduct family emergency drills twice a year.

    • Review and practice your emergency communication plan.

Having a well-prepared emergency kit is essential for ensuring your safety and well-being in the event of a disaster. By following this guide, you can create a comprehensive kit that meets the needs of your household and provides peace of mind during emergencies.