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Build a Kit - Emergency Kit Tips and Checklists

Printer Friendly Kit Checklist

When disaster strikes, emergency responders - including Coast Guard personnel - address the most critical needs. While they work on behalf of the entire community, their families may be coping with the same or different emergencies at home. It is imperative that pre-emptive steps are taken to ensure a family’s well-being during times of crisis. Emergency kits are an essential tool for meeting this aspect of family readiness.

Items in an emergency kitTo prepare your family for an emergency, get one or more emergency kits that include enough supplies for at least three days. If you live in a disaster-prone area (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), consider extending your capability to five days. Keep a kit prepared at home. Every family member should know where it is and be able to access it easily. Consider having kits in your car and at work. These kits will enable you and your family to respond to an emergency more quickly and will be useful whether you have to evacuate or shelter in place.

Here are some basic items to consider for a home emergency kit:

  • Water -- at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days
  • Food -- nonperishable food for at least three days
  • Manual can opener
  • First aid kit with dust masks, disinfectant, and prescription medications
  • Sanitation supplies such as moist towelettes (one container for every two household members), disinfectant, and garbage bags
  • Formula and diapers for any infants
  • Flashlight and extra batteries, battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio and cell phone charger
  • Important documents -- personal, financial, and insurance in a water proof container
  • Maps, your family emergency plan, and emergency contact numbers
  • Command reporting information
  • Food, water, other supplies, and documents for any pets
  • Money -- at a minimum $100 in small bills

In the event of an influenza pandemic, some extra precautions are in order:

  • Water, non-perishable food, and prescription medicine supplies to cover two weeks
  • Hand wash with 60% - 95% alcohol content
  • Thermometer
  • Medicines for fever and diarrhea
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • Facemasks

Many other items could prove helpful:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • A wrench or any tools needed to turn off utilities
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Paper plates, paper cups, plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Coats and rain gear
  • Sleeping bags or other bedding
  • A weather-appropriate change of clothes for each person
  • Books, games, puzzles, toys, and other activities for children
  • Items for individuals with special needs, such as wheelchair batteries or other medical supplies

Additional items can be essential for those deployed or stationed abroad:

  • Passports
  • Birth, marriage, and birth abroad (for children born overseas) certificates
  • Cash (a minimum of $100 in small bills) in local currency
  • Card with local translations of basic terms
  • Electric current converter

Emergency kits should be evaluated regularly to ensure they will provide your family with basic needs during the emergency situations and current season. Remember to update supplies periodically as medications and food expire.

The Ready Campaign website (www.ready.gov) also provides thorough checklists for emergency supply kits, as well as fact sheets about planning for children, pets, and other special needs.

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Last Modified 6/11/2014