Family Disaster Preparation Kit

Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway spill or hazardous material could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other disaster could cut water, electricity, and telephones for days. After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?

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

Prepare Your Kit

  • Review the checklist.
  • Gather the supplies that are listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home.
  • Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. These supplies are listed with an asterisk (*).
  • There are 6 basics you should stock for your home:
  • Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container-suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*).

Possible Containers Include

  • A large, covered trash container
  • A camping backpack
  • A duffle bag


  • 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.
  • Keep at least a 3-day supply of water per person (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).


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. Include a selection of thee following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
  • Ready-to-eat canned fruits
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats
  • Ready-to-eat canned vegetables

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Antiseptic
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Needle
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Scissors
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Sunscreen
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue 2
  • Triangular 3
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Tweezers

Non-Prescription Drugs

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

Tools & Supplies

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


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

Clothing & Bedding

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Include at least 1 complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal underwear

Special Items

Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

For Baby

  • Bottles
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Medications
  • Powdered milk

For Adults

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


  • Games and books

Important Family Documents

  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every 6 months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every 6 months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.