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Prepare for any type of emergency by having a well-stocked supply kit.

No matter where you live, you’re likely at risk of experiencing some type of natural or man-made disaster. Whether flooding, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards or other types of storms, being prepared can help you get through anything that comes your way.

One way to help you prepare for these disasters is to have an evacuation plan. This will allow you to figure out in advance what you will do if you need to leave your home quickly due to weather or other types of disasters. The plan may include where you’ll meet, where you’ll go, how you’ll communicate and what you’ll bring with you. Creating this plan can help ease your mind and makes it easier to make well-thought-out decisions when you’re not in the midst of an emergency.

While this plan is a key aspect of preparing for emergencies, it’s also important to put together a supply kit to keep in your home in case you can’t get out for a few days. Sometimes events keep people stuck in their homes for a while, potentially with no access to power or water. Having sufficient supplies on hand can help you get through that time more safely and comfortably.

Here are 21 things you should include in your disaster supplies kit (make sure you have enough for every member of your household for 3 days):
  1. Non-perishable food
  2. Water – one gallon per person per day
  3. Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  4. First aid kit
  5. Hygiene and sanitation items – toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, toothpaste, etc.
  6. Special needs items, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, canes or assistive devices
  7. Items for babies (if appropriate) – diapers, formula, bottles, pacifiers, toys, etc.
  8. Items for pets (if appropriate) – food, bowls, leashes, toys, etc.
  9. Extra clothing – keep in mind that you may not have heat or air conditioning
  10. Extra shoes – include boots in case you need to walk through water, mud, debris or snow
  11. Bedding
  12. Can opener
  13. Disposable plates, cups and silverware
  14. Cleaning supplies
  15. Battery-operated radio
  16. Flashlights
  17. Extra batteries
  18. Phone chargers
  19. Whistle – in case you need to get someone’s attention
  20. Photocopies of ID cards – license, medical card, etc.
  21. Cash

These supplies should be kept in an area of your house where you are likely to shelter in place during an emergency. The supplies should be kept in an easy-to-carry waterproof container in case you need to evacuate your home so you can quickly grab the supplies on the way out.

A disaster supplies kit cannot simply be assembled and then forgotten about. Needs change (you may have more family members or a new pet). Food and medication expire. Batteries die. That’s why it’s important to take inventory of your disaster supplies kit every 6 months. Use the food and medication you stored before it goes bad and replace it with a new supply. Update any items you need so you’re always ready to keep your family safe, fed and cared for during an emergency.

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Date Last Reviewed: July 20, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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