Family Disaster Supply Kit

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway spill of hazardous material could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other disaster could disrupt water, electricity, and telephone service for days.

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. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?

Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you have gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

Preparing Your Kit

Review the checklist below. Gather the supplies that are listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home. Place the supplies you would most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container, such as a large, covered trash container; a duffle bag; a plastic storage bin. These supplies are listed with an asterisk (*). There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing, tools, and emergency supplies.

Storing Water

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. 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 one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation). Keep at least a three-day supply.

Storing Food

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water; such as ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables.) If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.

Preparing a First Aid Kit*

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

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch & 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls of each)
  • Scissors/tweezers/needle
  • Moistened novelettes
  • Antiseptic liquid and ointment
  • Thermometer
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Non-Prescription Drugs - aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever; anti-diarrhea medication; antacid; laxative; Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center); activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center).

Preparing Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
  • Tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)
  • Preparing Sanitation Supplies
  • Toilet paper, novelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine & personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • At least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

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

For Baby - formula; bottles; diapers; wipes; medications

For Adults - prescription medications; insulin/testing supplies/needles; denture needs; contact lenses and supplies; extra eye glasses

Important Family Documents

Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:

  • Visa, sojourner's permit
  • Birth certificates, naturalization papers
  • Household goods inventory
  • Will, power of attorney, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank and credit card account numbers and companies
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Marriage/divorce/settlement papers

Storing your Disaster Supplies Kit

  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members
  • Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags
  • Replace stored water & food supply every six months
  • Reevaluate your kit and family needs at least once a year
  • Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications