Assembling an emergency survival kit could save your life. The aftermath of any natural disaster can be devastating. There are a lot of things to deal with. But, you immediate concern is making sure that your family is safe. Providing for their basic needs is your number one priority.
In some cases, it could be hours – or even days – before rescue workers are able to reach you. Electricity and water may be cut off. Internet and phone services may be unavailable. You may be trapped in your home or have to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Should you face any of these scenarios, your emergency survival kit could be your strongest lifeline.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you have enough basic supplies on hand for your household to survive on its own for at least three days.
Remember, disaster can strike quickly. You may not have the time to gather or purchase the supplies you need. So, assembling your kit ahead of time will ensure that you’re prepared when an emergency situation arises.
Emergency Survival Kit: What To Include
- Bottled water: 1 gallon per day for each person in your household
- Non-perishable food: canned food, granola bars, dried fruit, packaged nuts or other snacks
- Manual can opener
- Kitchen needs: plates, cups, eating utensils
- Battery operated flashlight and extra batteries
- Candles and matches/lighter
- First Aid kit: Make sure it is well stocked. You might want to make an extra one for your vehicle.
- First Aid manual: A simple guide to basic first aid and CPR can be helpful if you need to tend injuries.
- Extra keys for your house and all vehicles.
- Change of clothing and footwear for all members of your household. Long sleeves and pants may provide additional protection, depending on the situation.
- Additional clothing items: hats, gloves, jackets, sunglasses, etc.
- Hygiene items: soap, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
- Infant supplies (if applicable): formula, diapers, wipes
- Battery operated radio: This may be important if cell phone or internet service is not available.
- Copies of important documents: identification, insurance policies, financial records, medical records, vet records for pets.
- Sleeping bag or blanket for each member of your household
- Mobile phone charger
- Pet food and supplies
- Tool kit: basic tools such as hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, pocket knife, scissors
- Duct Tape
- Cash: Banks may be closed and/or systems could be down, so many places may have a temporary “cash only” policy.
- Chlorine or water purification tablets
- Fuel operated stove and extra fuel
- Generator and extra fuel
- Activities for children (if applicable): books, puzzles, hand held games, etc.
- Prescription medications, eye glasses, mobility aids, and other special equipment required by any member or your household.
- Plastic sheeting
- Copy of your emergency preparedness plan, including all important numbers and contact information.
- Additional items that you think are important for your family.
This is a general list that can be used for any disaster situation. However, there are a few extra supplies that you may want to consider including, depending on where you live and the emergencies you are more likely to face.
Hurricane Survival Kit (also wind storm, typhoon, cyclone, tropical storm)
Your hurricane emergency survival kit should include all the above mentioned items plus:
- Axe – in case you have to escape from your home
- Rain gear – in case of high waters or flooding
- Plywood (and hammer and nails) – for boarding up windows
- Straps or bungee cords – strong enough to secure outdoor items that may blow away
- Insect repellent – especially in warm or tropical climates
- Plastic sheeting – to help you stay dry or use as a temporary shelter
Tornado Survival Kit
Your tornado emergency survival kit should include all of the above listed items, but you may also want to add:
- Helmet or safety hat – to protect your head from flying debris
- Safety glasses (or a visor for your helmet) – to protect your eyes from flying debris
- Gloves and sturdy shoes – in case you have to kick your way through debris
- Axe or shovel – you may have to dig your way out
**If you have a tornado shelter, store your kit there so you don’t have to think about bringing it when you run for safety.
Blizzard Survival Kit (also winter storm, extreme cold)
Your blizzard or winter storm emergency survival kit can include all of the items on the general list, but you may also want to add:
- Shovel – in case you have to dig out
- Extra winter clothing – hats, mitts, scarves, coats
- Tow chain or rope – in case your vehicle gets stuck
- Safety salt and/or sand – To melt the snow and ice on walkways and create traction
- Alternate form of heating – propane heater with extra fuel or stockpile wood for a fireplace. It is important that all heaters meet safety standards for indoor use.
- Non-electric kettle or pot to heat water
- Rags or towels to wrap pipes and prevent water lines from freezing
Earthquake Survival Kit
You earthquake emergency survival kit should include all the items on the general list, however, you may also want to add:
- Helmet or hardhat and safety shoes – to protect from falling debris or dangerous rubble
- Work gloves – in case you need to move fallen debris
- Pick and shovel – in case you have to dig out
- Dust Mask – to protect your lungs from the dusty air or debris particles
Flooding Survival Kit
Your flooding emergency survival kit should include all the items on the general list as well as:
- Sandbags – to help redirect water and protect your home from damage.
- Small inflatable raft and pump
- Extra plastic sheeting – to protect valuables
- Water proof tape
Emergency Survival Kit Tips
- Store your kit in an convenient location. Keep it in a shelter or safe room. Store it in a closet near an exit. You want to make sure that it is easy to get to, and/or easy to find if you have to leave quickly.
- Pack your kit so it is easy to carry. Use one or two backpacks, duffel bags, new garbage cans, or plastic bins.
- Pack water sensitive items in airtight plastic bags.
- Label your kit. This way, whoever grabs it will know they have the right bag or container.
- Maintain your kit. Check it regularly to make sure that flashlights, radios, and chargers are in working order.
- Check expiry dates on food and water supplies.
- Update your kit yearly. As your family’s needs change, you may have to adjust what is included in your kit.