Make a Disaster Kit for the Whole Family

by Platt Devost

Disaster KitWill your family be prepared for the next disaster? Putting together an emergency kit is easy. Surviving a disaster without a kit can be more difficult.

Creating a family disaster kit can involve the whole group. While you're collecting and storing the necessary items, talk about disasters common in your area. Depending on the age of the children, you might want to cover topics like where you would go, why you will be safe and how you can help others affected by the crisis.

During a disaster, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supply kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

Creating Your Family's Kit

Plan to provide your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. At minimum, your evacuation/emergency kit should contain these basic supplies.

  • Water: One gallon per person per day. Have a three-day supply in your evacuation kit and a two-week supply for home.
  • Food: Stock nonperishable and easy-to-prepare items. Have a three-day supply in your evacuation kit and a two-week supply for home.
  • Household bleach
  • Manual can opener
  • Matches or a lighter in a waterproof container
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powdered radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and instructions
  • Medications: Set aside a seven day supply of medications and rotate regularly.
  • Multipurpose tool and basic household tools
  • Personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, garbage bags and ties and hand cleaner
  • Documents: Copies of personal documents like medical information, address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • Family and emergency contact numbers
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Emergency blankets
  • Extra cash
  • Map of area

Some families use plastic bins with lids and store these basics on a shelf in a closet. Others prefer a plastic garbage can on wheels, kept handy by the garage door. What would best work for you?

Once you've put together a basic kit, you can customize to meet the needs of your family. Consider adding these items:

  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family memeber
  • Baby supplies
  • Games and activities for the children
  • Pet supplies
  • Two way radios

Once your kit is complete, store it in a handy place. If you're dedicating a closet or a shelf to emergency readiness, think about adding a sleeping bag for each family member. Duct tape, plastic sheeting, work gloves and staples or nail can help make a shelter or emergency repairs following a disaster.

Do you keep an emergency kit in your car? If you don't, it's something to contemplate. How will you prepare? Have you already?