One of the best ways to improve your household’s safety is to focus on preparation. Your household may be without running water or power for a prolonged period of time if disaster strikes. It is a good idea to have an emergency kit with all the necessary supplies in your home.

Remember that disasters can vary across the country when you pack your emergency kit. You could be facing flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes depending on where you live. Make sure your emergency kit is customized to your specific location.

Food and water

In times of crisis, you might not have access to the basic needs like water and food. Make sure you have enough. The Red Cross recommends that you keep at least one gallon of water per person each day. Portable water filters are also useful to remove microplastics and waterborne bacteria. The Red Cross recommends that you keep nonperishable and easy-to-prepare food items in your emergency kit. Make sure to have a manual can opener if you are packing canned food. A three-day supply should be sufficient for emergency situations, and two weeks for sheltering in place.

First-aid kit

A well-stocked first aid kit can make it easier to get through an emergency. Regularly check your first aid kit and replace any expired items. Premade kits are available for purchase, or you can make your own with the following items:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Roller bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Cold pack
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic spray
  • Latex gloves
  • Eyewash
  • Emergency blanket

Other basics

You should stock up on many additional supplies to keep your home safe and sound. These supplies include

  • Prescription medications: If any of your family members regularly take medication, make sure you have a seven-day supply available.
  • Nonprescription medications: Keep over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, antacids, and laxatives, in your kit.
  • Personal hygiene items: Soap, toothpaste, and feminine products are all necessities.
  • Cell phone and power bank: A rechargeable power bank can help keep your phone charged so you can contact emergency responders or family members during a crisis.
  • Change of clothing: Each household member should have at least one extra pair of clothes in the emergency kit. Keep warm clothing for colder winters in your home, like gloves and jackets.
  • Flashlight: If your home loses power, a flashlight can help you safely navigate through your home.
  • Radio: A battery-powered or hand-crank radio can help keep you informed during an emergency.
  • Batteries: You should cache a supply of batteries to power your devices for several days.
  • Bedding: Items like pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags can help your household stay comfortable.
  • Personal documents: Important family documents, such as medical information, passports, insurance policies, and proof of address, should be stored in a waterproof and fireproof container or safe.
  • Pet supplies: Don’t forget to stock up on items for your pet, such as food, toys, and other supplies.
  • Map of the area: If you must evacuate your home, a map can help you navigate your way to safety.

Additional supplies

You never know what you might face in an emergency situation, so these items may be useful to have with you.

  • Cash
  • Waterproof matches
  • Rain gear
  • Life raft
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Tent
  • Flares
  • Hand warmers
  • Work gloves
  • Tools (hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, wrench, shovel, axe, utility knife)
  • Needle and thread
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Dust masks
  • Entertainment (games and books)

Preparation is key to surviving a crisis.