Week 2 (Sept. 6-12): Build a Kit

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mikel Rogers, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management plans NCOIC

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for “3 to 5 days” (FEMA standard). A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags, and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (for drinking and sanitation, one gallon per person per day for at least three days)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Recommended Supplies List (PDF for download)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Since spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses, such as the flu.

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications, such as pain relievers, antidiarrheal  medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents, such as electronically saved copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing that is appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit, remember to maintain it, so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Rethink your needs every year, and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for to keep in your home, workplace and cars.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place, and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Workplace: Be prepared to shelter in place at your workplace for at least 24 hours. Your workplace kit should include food, water and other necessities, like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes stored in a grab-and-go case.
  • Car: In case you are stranded on the road, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.