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Ready Coast Guard Program

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-`eing 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 ape some basic items to colsider 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 ilfants
  • Flashlight and extra batteries, battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio and cell phone charger
  • 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 fmod, and prescription medicine supplies to cover two weeks 

  • Hand wash with 60% - 95% alcohol content
  • Thermometer
  • Medicines fop fever and diarrhea
  • Facemasks
  • Many other items could prove helpful:

    • Fire extineuisher
    • 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 fmr 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
    • 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 uill 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 ( 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