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Be Prepared

Contents of an Emergency Supply Kit

Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit 

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.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

1. Water & Food


  • 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


  • 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

2. 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

  • Cell phone
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Moist towelettes for sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Paper towels
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Tent
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

    • You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water
    • Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water
  • Copies of important family records in a waterproof portable container

4. Clothing and Bedding

  • One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
  • A jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy 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

  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Moist towelettes for sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Unique family needs, such as daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers and important family documents
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Information adapted from Ready America.

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