Building an Emergency Supply Kit

Emergency supply kits are designed to help you, your family, or the people in your organization survive in the immediate aftermath of an
emergency, when some critical systems such as water, electricity, gas, etc. may not be functioning normally. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when assembling your emergency kit:
  • The magic number if "72"! You should have enough supplies for you and your family to survive for a minimum of 72 hours on your own.
  • Make it easy and personal! Your kit should be easily accessible if you need to evacuate in a hurry, and it should be customized to include whatever you need. Do you take medications regularly that need to be part of your kit? Do you live in a particularly hot and sunny climate where you may need sunscreen? Do you have provisions for your pets? Activities for your kids? Your Bible? 
  • You don't have to do it all at once! Don't be deterred from preparing an emergency kit by the cost. Collect the items you need little-by-little, purchasing one or two items a month, and building your kit up steadily.


According the the Red Cross website, you should have the basic supplies listed below at a minimum:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are: Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc), Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers), Games and activities for children, Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl), Two-way radios, Extra set of car keys and house keys, Manual can opener
(Above list was taken from www.redcross.org)

Many of these items, as well as pre-assembled starter kits, can be purchased at the Red Cross Store, Amazon.com, and many other local and online retailers.

FEMA/Photo by Jana Baldwin