How to Make an Emergency Supply Kit
Everyone should stock the basic supplies needed to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. Every emergency supply kit should contain the basic items listed below.
Review this list, then consider where you live and your unique family needs before tailoring the emergency supply kit supplies to meet those needs. Also consider making two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and a smaller, portable kit for your workplace or vehicle.
If you know people who are unlikely to make an emergency supply kit for themselves, consider making kits for them; your forethought and generosity just might save their lives!
Basic Emergency Supply List
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners).
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Through its Ready Campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security educates and empowers Americans to take some simple steps to prepare for and respond to potential emergencies. Individuals are asked to do three key things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about different emergencies that could occur and appropriate responses. Links to community and state information are available on the Ready Campaign home page.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provides disaster information and disaster declaration maps, plus relief and response during a declared emergency. You can apply for assistance online, or call: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Public Safety Canada, via GetPrepared.ca, also offers information on 72-hour emergency preparation. You can complete an Online Emergency Plan or download the PDF Emergency Plan Form, or view instructions on What to Do During an Emergency.