Assemble a Kit

You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days.

Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.

There are six basics you should stock in your home:

1. Water

You should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:

  • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.

2. Food

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable 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. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.

Note: Be sure to include a manual can opener.

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

3. 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 towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • 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 nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • 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)

4. Clothing, bedding and sanitation supplies

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person. Remember to have clothing be seasonally appropriate. Listed below is an example for winter:

  • Jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Hat, gloves and scarf
  • Rain gear
  • Thermal underwear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Sunglasses


  • Toilet paper
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies <.li> Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

5. Tools

It’s important to have the following items at your home and in your emergency kits:

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Nonelectric 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 flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)

6. Special items

Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.For Baby

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For Adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Hearing aid batteries

Important Family Documents

  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Photo IDs, passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards

Read the County Clerk's Grab 'n' Go Record Information for more!

Cash and coins.

Entertainment--games and books.

Prepare an Emergency Car Kit

  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares