Kids and an adult making a plan on the computer

Planning for emergencies before they occur can help you be better prepared. When an emergency happens, you do not have time to gather all of the important items and documents you might need. An emergency supply kit allows you to do some of that gathering ahead of time.

It is important to create an emergency supply kit. This kit can be created six months, one year or five years before something happens. It should be placed in an easy access location to "grab and go," such as an exterior door.

It is also important to have a plan in place before an emergency occurs. This helps determine where you and your family can meet during an emergency and what phone numbers you might need to have on hand.

Emergency Supply Kit

Emergency Supply Kit items

After an emergency, first responders may not be able to reach everyone right away. Once something happens, time may not be available to gather all of the supplies needed, which is why it is important to have them on hand for at least a limited time.

If a large emergency occurs, it is important to be prepared. It is key to have a three-day supply of items that you may need including medications, bottled water, food and clothing. There are a variety of ways that a kit can be stored, such as a backpack, box or even trash can. The important thing to remember is this is your family's emergency supply kit. Pack the items specific to every family member's needs,  including the needs of your pets.

Recommended Items for an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water, one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods.
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, 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.
  • 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).
  • Cellphone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
  • Cash in the event ATMs are not available or the incident prevents the use of credit/debit cards.
  • A copy of important documents such as passports, immunization records and Social Security cards.

Don't forget critical items for family members, such as: 

  • Pet supplies.
  • Medications.
  • Baby items such as diapers, formula and bottles.

Prepare a Plan

Where would you meet your family if a disaster occurred and you were separated? What would you do if your house was destroyed? Who would you call to tell you were OK? The KnoWhat2Do website offers an opportunity to create a family preparedness plan online.  It takes only a few minutes of your time and will be extremely important during an emergency. 

This plan includes information for all members of your household, including pets. It will also help you to predesignate meeting places. It is suggested that you select one in your neighborhood for incidents affecting just part of your neighborhood; one outside your neighborhood in the event the entire neighborhood is affected; and one outside of the city if the entire city is affected.