Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Disasters strike when we least expect them, so always being prepared is crucial. A well-stocked disaster preparedness kit can be a lifesaver during these times. In this guide, we'll walk you through building your disaster preparedness kit, from understanding its importance to knowing what to pack and how to maintain it.

Understanding the Importance of a Disaster Preparedness Kit

You might think, "I'll never need a disaster preparedness kit," but wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? A disaster preparedness kit is your lifeline during a crisis. It provides essential supplies when access to regular services is disrupted. So, let's dive in and see what goes into a comprehensive kit!

Essential Elements of a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Building a quality kit takes time and necessitates thorough planning while considering your specific requirements. Take into account the following categories as guidelines:

Food and Water Supplies

Begin by focusing on the essentials, which include non-perishable food (such as canned goods, dry cereals, or freeze-dried meals) and water. 

Ensure you have enough non-perishable food to sustain you for at least three days, and strive to have a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day to cover drinking and sanitation needs.

Medical Supplies

Remember your health! This should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, medical tape, gloves, and a CPR mask, at the least. Consider adding any necessary prescription medications or specific medical supplies that you or your family members require.

Safety and Survival Items

Here's a general list of items you should consider including in your kit:

  1. Include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio equipped with a tone alert. These devices are crucial for receiving timely updates regarding the ongoing disaster.
  2. Flashlight: A hand crank can be helpful if batteries run out.
  3. First aid kit: This should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, medical tape, gloves, and a CPR mask, at the least. Consider adding any necessary prescription medications or specific medical supplies that you or your family members require.
  4. Extra batteries are for your flashlight, radio, and other electronic devices.
  5. Whistle: This can be used to signal for help.
  6. Dust mask: This can help filter contaminated air.
  7. Plastic sheeting and duct tape: These can be used to shelter in place.
  8. Pack moist towels, garbage bags, and plastic ties as they maintain personal sanitation.
  9. A wrench or a pair of pliers will be essential for turning off utilities if needed.
  10. Manual can opener: to ensure you can access the food.
  11. Local maps: If cell service is out, you should navigate the old-fashioned way.
  12. Remember to include a cell phone, chargers, and a backup battery in your kit.

Personal Needs

Include cash, important documents, and comfort items, like games or books. It's about more than just survival but maintaining morale as well.

Organizing Your Disaster Preparedness Kit

Now that you know what to include, let's discuss organization and maintenance.

Storing Your Kits in Different location

Considering the uncertainty of your whereabouts during an emergency, preparing supplies for various locations, including your home, workplace, and cars, is essential.

For Home: Keep a designated kit readily available if you need to evacuate your home swiftly. Ensure that all family members are aware of the kit's location.

For Work: Be prepared to take shelter at your workplace for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should contain essential items such as food, water, medications, and comfortable walking shoes, all stored in a portable "grab and go" case.

For Cars: To be ready for the possibility of being stranded, it is essential to maintain an emergency supply kit in your vehicle.

Regular Maintenance of the Kit

Make sure to maintain your assembled kit so that it remains prepared for use:

  1. Store canned food in a cool and dry location.
  2. Keep boxed food in tightly sealed plastic or metal containers.
  3. Regularly replace any expired items.
  4. Reassess your requirements annually and update your kit according to your family's changing needs.


Special Considerations

When preparing a kit, remember to consider the unique needs of those in your household.

  • Any prescription medications you or your family members are taking.
  • Glasses or contact lens solution if you wear them.
  • Baby supplies if you have a baby (diapers, formula, etc.).
  • Remember to include pet food and extra water in your emergency kit.
  • Ensure you include a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each individual in your kit.
  • Complete change of clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • It matches in a waterproof container.

Disaster Preparedness Tips

More than a kit is needed; you also need a plan.

Planning and Communication

Establish a family emergency plan. Discuss how you will contact one another, where you will go, and what you will do during a disaster.

Evacuation Plan

In addition to your emergency plan, establish a clear evacuation plan. Know your exits and safe meeting spots.


Remember, a disaster preparedness kit is essential for every household. It may seem daunting, but it is much better to be prepared than caught off guard. A little planning now can go a long way when disaster strikes.


Q: How often should I check and update my disaster preparedness kit? A: You should inspect your kit every six months, replacing expired items and adjusting contents based on family needs.

Q: What kind of food should I pack in my disaster kit?

 A: Opt for non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items. Remember, a manual can opener!

Q: How much water should I store in my kit? 

A: A: Aim for a gallon of water per person daily, enough for at least three days.

Q: Can I prepare a kit for my pet? 

A: Absolutely! Pets should have their equipment with food, water, and necessary medications.

Q: Where should I store my disaster preparedness kit? 

A: Store your kit in a place that's easily accessible in an emergency, like a closet near an exit.


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