Building Your Emergency Disaster Kit

A disaster or emergency supply kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.  Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency.  You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you.  There probably will not be time to search for the supplies you need or to shop for them. 

We may need to survive on our own after an emergency.  This means having our own food, water and supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 3 days.  Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately.  Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days–or even longer.  Emergency supply kits should contain items to help us manage during these outages.

Keep your kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly.  Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Basic emergency supply kits could include the following recommended items: 

WATER:  One gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation.

FOOD:  At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food.  This supply could include:

   – Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener

   – Protein or fruit bars

   – Dry cereal or granola

   – Peanut butter

   – Dried fruit

   – Nuts

   – Crackers

   – Canned juices

   – Non-perishable pasteurized milk

   – High-energy foods

   – Vitamins

   – Food for infants

   – Pet food and extra water

   – Comfort/stress foods

Battery-operated or hand-crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert; extra batteries for both

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle to signal for help

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air

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

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional Items to Consider Including in Your Kit:

Prescription meds and glasses

Infant formula and diapers

Cash or travelers checks and change

Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

Complete change of clothing, including a hat and gloves

Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper.  When diluted 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  It can be used 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, paper towels and plastic utensils

Paper and pencil

Books, games, puzzles and other activities for children

For additional, detailed suggestions on preparing your emergency kit, visit FEMA’s website located at

Since we can’t know for sure when we’ll find ourselves in an emergency situation, it’s never too soon to start planning and preparing.  Begin to assemble your emergency disaster kit today.  You’ll feel really good once it’s done.