Peace of mind: Making an emergency supply kit

December 11, 2017

When inclement weather hits, it's important to be prepared to avoid disaster. The pre in prepared is important to stress—that is, gather emergency items in advance, putting them all in one place and letting everyone in the family know where they are. If an emergency occurs, you'll be ready to provide for yourselves for a few days, if needed.

Making up a family emergency kit is a great family project. Pack items in containers that are easy to grab and carry, such as a duffel bag or one or two camping backpacks.

iStock_73337407.jpgBegin with these basics:

  • A three-day supply of water (about 1 gallon per person per day) and nonperishable food.
  • A can opener and utensils for cooking and eating.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items, such as toilet paper.
  • A flashlight and extra batteries.
  • A hand-crank or battery-powered radio.
  • Extra clothes and shoes.
  • Photocopies of important documents, such as emergency contacts, insurance policies, birth certificates and a list of medicines.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A multipurpose tool.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Duct tape and plastic sheeting, in case you need to shelter-in-place.
  • Any special items, such as medicines, baby formula and pacifiers, or food and water for pets.


Keep the supplies in a cool, easy-access spot and replace the food and water every six months. Rethink the kit once a year to keep up with your family's changing needs, advises the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For more ideas—including additional items to pack and what else to consider during emergencies and evacuations—visit the American Red Cross at

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