How to prepare an Emergency Kit

Now lets discuss some of the items you may need to get yourself and your family prepared for an emergency.

Be prepared to use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and clean air. Put together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a portable version you can take with you if you have to get away.

One of the most important things to have on hand during an emergency is cash. In an emergency you may not be able to access an ATM or use a credit card. You may not be able to get to your bank or it could be closed. For example, if you had to evacuate your town rather quickly, you probably wouldn't have time to stop and make a withdrawal, even if you could find easy access to an ATM. some experts suggest having about $100 US dollars on hand for each person in your family. Its also a good idea to have it in smaller bill, as you may have difficulty using larger denominations in certain types of situations.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

Water & Food

1. Water

Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person; each person will need a gallon each day. Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary Store water tightly in clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. A good source for drinking water in your home is your hot water heater. It can provide you with much needed clean drinking water when your local water services have been disrupted. Youshould filter the water to remove any contaminates present. You can drain the water using the valve on the bottom of the tank. Be sure to turn the gas or electric supply to the water heater off before draining it.

2. 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
  • Pack a manual can opener, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils

Choose foods your family will eat such as:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High-energy foods
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid Kit

In any emergency, a family member may be cut, burned or suffer other injuries. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt. Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

Things You Should Have
  • Two pairs of sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Burn ointment to prevent infection
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day (you should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates)
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
  • Medicine dropper
  • First Aid book
  • Non-prescription drugs (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative)
3. Other Items
4. Clothing and Bedding

One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:

  • A jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • A long sleeved shirt
  • Sturdy and comfortable shoes
  • A hat and gloves
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Rain gear

Special Needs Items

Remember the special needs of your family members. Infants, the elderly and persons with disabilities need the same planning as everyone else, and sometimes a little more, to be prepared for a terrorist attack.

1. For Infants

Make sure to keep the following in your emergency supply kit:

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Moist towelettes
  • Diaper rash ointment
2. For Adults

Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication and insulin. Consider the following for your emergency supply kit:

  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
3. For Seniors and People with Disabilities

Plan how you will evacuate or signal for help. Plan emergency procedures with home health care agencies or workers. Tell others where you keep your emergency supplies. Contact your city or county government's emergency information management office. Many local offices keep lists of people with disabilities so they can be located quickly in an emergency. Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your disability. If you are dependent on dialysis or other life sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility. Teach others how to operate necessary equipment. Label equipment such as wheelchairs, canes and walkers. Additional supplies include:

  • A list of prescription medications including dosage and any allergies
  • Extra eye glasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • A list of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers
  • Extra wheelchair batteries and oxygen
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • A list of doctors and emergency contacts
Portable Emergency Supply Kit

You will need to have two kits available, one for home that will provide for the needs of all household members and one for your vehicle. Again, this kit should be sufficient for all members of your household in the case of an evacuation.

You should also consider preparing a kit to have in your workplace should you have to evacuate from there and can not get to your vehicle. It should be sufficient and have the needed supplies for you for 3 days.

You should also ensure that each of your children have an Emergency Supply Kit available for them at their school. Many schools provide this kit, however you should check with the school and ensure that they have the needed supplies and that your children know how to get to them in the case of an emergency.