How To: Create a Disaster Kit


Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. Sadly, when an emergency happens you may not have much time to respond. The Red Cross says that one way to prepare is by assembling an emergency kit. Once disaster hits you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container or bag. Make sure these supplies are in an easily accessible place and that everyone in your family knows where it is.

There are six basics you should stock for your home:


Store a minimum of one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes. You should store a three-day supply. Store water in plastic containers.


Store at least a three-day supply of ready-to-eat, canned food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack some Sterno cans. Don’t forget to store food and water for your pet if you have one!

First Aid Kits

You should have two: one for your home and one for the car. Both should include the following:

  • sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • assorted sizes of safety pins
  • soap
  • latex gloves
  • sterile gauze pads of various sizes
  • various sizes of bandages
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • moist towelettes
  • antiseptic
  • thermometer
  • ice pack
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as a general decontaminant

Special Items

  • For Babies: formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, medications
  • For Older Adults: Heart and high blood pressure medication, Insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies, extra eye glasses
  • Entertainment/News: Games and books. Don't forget about a crank radio so you can stay informed
  • Important Family Documents: Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
    • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
    • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

A few things to remember

  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
  • Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
  • Replace your stored food every six months.
  • Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

Create a risk map of your community. GO



National Hurricane Center

National Fire Protection Association