Family Disaster Supply Kit

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Disasters happen anytime and anywhere.  And when a disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond.  Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives.  If the disaster is large scale, it may overwhelm available resources and help may not be available for a long period of time.  That is why it is recommended that you be self sufficient for a minimum of three days.  With the current threat of pandemic flu, it is recommended that you be self sufficient for even longer.

You and your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes.  One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit.  Once a disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies.  But, if you have gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

To prepare your kit, gather the supplies that are listed.  Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation (water, food, first aid items, clothing and bedding) in an easy to carry container such as a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack or a duffel bag.

There are six basic categories of supplies you should stock in your home:

  • Water
  • Food
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Tools and Emergency Supplies
  • Clothing and Bedding
  • Special Items


Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.  Avoid using containers that will decompose or break such as milk cartons or glass bottles.  A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day.  Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount.  Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.

  • Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation).
  • Keep at least a three day supply of water for each person in your household.


Store at least a three day supply of nonperishable food.  Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.  If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno.  Select food items that are compact and lightweight.  Include a selection of the following foods:

  • Ready to eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples such as sugar, salt and pepper
  • High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars and trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on a special diet
  • Comfort/stress foods such as cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee and tea bags.

First Aid Supplies

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.  A first aid kit should include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelletes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)
  • Sunscreen

Non Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or other pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacids (for upset stomach)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
    Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher - small canister, ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flares
  • Paper and pencil
  • Needles and thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)


  • Toilet paper, towellets
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding

  • Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hats and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items:  Remember family members with special needs such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

For Infants

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered Milk
  • Medications

For Adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medicine
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses


  • Games and books

Important Family Documents:  Keep these in a waterproof, portable container.

  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

Suggestions and Reminders

  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members
  • Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in your car
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags
  • Replace your stored water supply every three months
  • Replace your stored food supply every six months so it stays fresh
  • Rethink your kit and family needs at least once a year
  • Replace batteries, update clothes, etc
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications

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