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Developing a Disaster Supplies Kit

Emergency checklist

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross has created a great video with tips on what to include in a disaster supplies kit (along with good examples of what should be left out!): The Kit You Don’t Want to Have: National Preparedness Month.

Even though the video takes a humorous approach to educating the public, it also does a good job of highlighting the importance of being prepared. Although the contents of a disaster supplies kit may vary, depending on the type of disaster common to your geographical area, there are some basic supplies every kit should include:

  • Water— a good, general rule of thumb is one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food— the best foods to add to your kit are non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries—these should be of various sizes, depending on the items for which you need them
  • First aid kit – items in a first aid kid can vary; for a good break down of what you should include, see the Red Cross’ Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and any accompanying medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers (including car chargers, if you have them)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area—don’t rely on your cell phone or GPS device for this! During a disaster or emergency situation, internet access and connectivity is limited and may not be available to you.

When putting together your disaster supplies kit, be sure that you put into consideration the needs of every family member–including babies and pets! If you know that you might be hosting friends and family during a disaster, keep that in mind as well when purchasing/storing water and food. For more ideas and resources on putting together a disaster kit, see the list below.

American Red Cross – Plan and Prepare – Get a Survival Kit : http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit

Ready.gov (Federal Emergency Management Agency) – Build a Kit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency Preparedness and Response – Gather Emergency Supplies: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/index.asp

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency Preparedness and Response – Information for Pregnant Women: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/pregnantfactsheet.asp

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Disaster Preparedness for your Pet: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Petsanddisasters/  as well as a checklist of items for a kit (cat and dog): http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-preparedness.pdf

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