National Preparedness Month: Building a Disaster Supplies Kit

By: Sammy Slappey


Disaster can strike at any moment. Will you be Red Cross ready? In the event of a disaster, you may need to evacuate immediately and take your essentials with you.During this time, you probably won’t have time to search for these items, let alone shop for them. Building and maintaining a disaster supplies kit can keep you and your family assured that you will stay safe and comfortable in any emergency situation.

A basic disaster supplies kit includes:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person will last at least three days, use this 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 (Check out the Red Cross first aid kit checklist)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air 
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to make an emergency shelter
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Call phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Extra cash
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list, patient medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) 
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Family and emergency contact information 

Other supplies to consider:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids, glasses, contact lenses, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys

Additional supplies based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towel
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Keep these items in airtight plastic bags and put the entire supplies kit in a backpack or duffel bag. Always be sure to keep items in your kit maintained and assure that everyone in your family knows what to do and where to meet in the event of a disaster. 

What’s in your disaster supplies kit? Share with us!


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