Build a Kit
Emergency kits can help to ensure that you and your family members have what you need to survive when disaster strikes. Consider for just a moment the types of things you would need if any of the following occurred:
- You had to evacuate your home and go to a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing.
- You had to shelter-in-place and were not able to leave your home.
- The utility services to your home, including electricity, gas, and water, were cut off.
- Grocery stores and other businesses, including financial institutions, in your community were unable to open or were out of stock.
This website will help you think through the necessary contents of the following kits:
Because it takes both energy and time to locate and assemble all of the kit items, it is imperative that you assemble your kits well in advance of an emergency.When a disaster happens, you may have just minutes to grab your kit and go.
Disaster Supply Kit
A good Disaster Supply Kit will support every member of your household, including pets or service animals, for at least three days (72 hours) - and for even longer, if possible. Your kit should be designed around your critical needs. Because every household is different, and each person’s needs unique, you will have to tailor your kit to best suit your family.
Kits do not need to be expensive, nor do they require a very large amount of space. What is critical is that they be assembled and stored away from other daily-use items in order to prevent “kit raiding”—taking something from your emergency kit during non-disaster times because it’s the only one in the house.
The contents of your Disaster Supply Kit should closely match your anticipated needs. One of the easiest ways to make a kit is to use a checklist to help you think about your own situation and customize your kit as required.
Be sure to make an inventory for your kit and check from time to time to be sure your kit contains all of the necessary items. Your inventory should list the current expiration dates of food, water, medicine, and other consumable items.
Storing Your Kit
One of the best ways to store your kit is in one or more plastic storage totes that are clearly labeled. Other easy-to-carry containers include an unused plastic trash receptacle with lid, a camping backpack or rucksack, a large duffel bag, a cargo container that fits on top of your vehicle, or an insulated cooler.
Be sure that everyone in the family knows where the kit is. The kit should be stored in a convenient, climate-controlled location to avoid spoilage of both food and water (a garage is not typically appropriate for a disaster kit in most climates). Pay attention to expiration dates. Water should be replaced every six months, batteries every year, and food and medication according to expiration dates.
Go Kit / Go Inventory
A Go Kit is an emergency kit that ensures you have your essential items if you must leave your home. The Go Kit should be packed ahead of time and kept ready to go in the event you must quickly evacuate. It is similar to a Disaster Supply Kit in that it provides for your basic necessities. However, a Go Kit assumes you will not be at home and therefore ensures you have other necessary items. For instance, it may include some very basic cooking supplies, foul weather gear (such as a raincoat), or even additional clothing and shoes for a longer stay away from home.
An alternative to the Go Kit is the “Go Inventory.” The Go Inventory is a checklist containing all of the items you will need to grab and quickly pack in the event that you must evacuate. Because people use many of these items daily, it may be impractical to have them stored in an emergency bag. When a disaster strikes, there will be precious little time to consider what you need, in addition to hunting around for it. To make your inventory, simply create a list of all the things you need and keep this list in an empty bag or suitcase you can use to pack them all in when the time comes.
For a list of items typically included in a Go Kit or Go Inventory, download the checklist.