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There are many items needed to compose a good family emergency kit. The kit is composed of the following categories:

    • Water
    • Food
    • First Aid Supplies
    • Clothing & Bedding Supplies
    • Special Items
  • Water: Water is the absolute necessity to a family kit. For drinking and cooking purposes it is best to store one gallon per person per day. Store water only in containers that will not break and ensure that your storage containers have never been used, or have only been used to store potable liquids (and then only after they have been thoroughly washed.) Make sure that the container is tightly sealed and that water is stored in a cool dry place. It is also important that you change your stored water at least once every six months. Place a date on the container so you will know it is time to change your water supply.

Treatment of Water: If it becomes necessary to use water from any source other than your home, or your kit, there are several safe methods for treating that water for human consumption:

    • Boiling: This is the safest method. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least two minutes and let the water cool before drinking.
    • Chlorination: Use unscented liquid chlorine bleach that contains no soaps. Add 1/8 tsp./gallon of water, let stand for 30 minutes. If this does not work, repeat the treatment. This treatment does not kill parasitic organisms.
    • Water Purification Tablets: This is the least preferred method of water treatment, The problem is that this type of treatment uses iodized tablets and may adversely affect those who have liver or kidney problems.
  • Food: Food is also an extremely important item to your kit. It is important that     you have enough food to feed all of those who will be using your kit. In an extended emergency, food can be rationed, except for children and pregnant women. There are several things to remember about the food for your kit:
    • Keep canned items stored in a cool dry place.
    • DO NOT use food in cans that have become dented, swollen or corroded.
    • Rotate your stock so that it is on the shelf no longer than 6 months.
    • Date each item at the time you placed it in the storage area.

Items To Consider For Your Food Kit:

Freeze dried foods, canned meats, dried or canned fruits and vegetables, soups, powdered milk or canned milk, trail mix, granola bars, peanut butter, low sodium crackers, cookies stored in air-tight containers, hard candy, cereals stored in containers, instant coffee.


In a power outage a refrigerator will keep foods cool for about 4 hours. Consider using those foods first if there is a way to safely prepare them. Most freezers will keep foods frozen for about 12 hours. Consider using those frozen foods first if you can safely prepare them as well. IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!


  • First Aid Kit: Assemble a first aid kit for your home, as well as for each vehicle. Listed below are several items to consider:

First aid manual, Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, Assorted size safety pins, Isopropyl alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide, Waterless hand cleaner, Antibiotic ointment, Several pair of latex gloves, Petroleum jelly, 2” and 4” sterile gauze pads (about 4-6 of each),  3 triangular bandages, 2” and 3” sterile roller bandages (about 3 of each), Cotton balls, Scissors, Tweezers, Needle, Hand wipes, Antiseptic, Thermometer, Tongue depressors (2/family member), Lip balm, Sunscreen, Eye wash

  • You man also want to include a few over the counter medications such as

Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, Anti-diarrhea medicines, Anti-acids, Syrup of Ipecac, Laxatives

This is not a complete list of what YOU will need, however, keep in mind that the kit should remain fairly small.


  • Tools & Emergency Supplies: These supplies should be part of your kit and should stay together in case you need to leave your home quickly.

Among Those Items Needed: 

 Battery operated radio, weather radio or TV,  Flashlight and batteries,   Signal flare,  Matches in a waterproof container, Crescent wrench,  Pair of pliers or channel locks,   Shovel,   Duct tape,  Utility scissors,  Plastic sheeting,   Whistle, A-B-C rated fire extinguisher, Work gloves,  Paper, pen and pencil,  Needle and threa

Kitchen Supplies Needed:

Manual can opener, Picnic supplies like paper plates, cups forks, etc., Papertowels,Utility , Condiments ,

Aluminum foil,  Plastic wrap,  Zippered plastic bags,  Small camping stove and fuel


Sanitation Supplies Needed:

 Washcloths and towels, Hand wipes and hand sanitizer,  Liquid detergent,Toothpaste and toothbrushes,

Soap, Shampoo, Deodorants,Combs and brushes, Razor and shaving cream,  Lip balm and sunscreen,  Insect

repellant,  Feminine hygiene products,  Small mirror,  Contact lenses or extra glasses, Toilet paper,  Medium size

bucket with lid, Disinfectant

  •    Clothing & Bedding Supplies: There should be at least one set of each item below for every family member:     Change of clothes,    Sturdy work shoes,   Rain gear,   Hat,   Extra socks,   Extra underwear,   Thermal underwear,   Sunglasses,    Blankets or sleeping bag,  Pillow
  •  Special Items: These are additional supplies that will make it much easier in an emergency situation. Copies of these items should be stored in a watertight portable container:   Insurance policies,   Social security cards,  Mortgage information,   Bank account information, Emergency medical information, Passport, Wills, Deeds.  Inventory of household goods,  Immunization records,  Credit cards,  Stocks and bonds,   Emergency phone numbers of family members, doctor, utility companies, etc.

You should also have some items ready for any of these categories that apply to you:

o       For Babies: Formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, medications, baby wipes, diaper rash ointment and toys.

o       For Seniors: Extra batteries for medical devices, list of medicine dosages, list of emergency medical information, extra oxygen, names and phone numbers of doctors and health care providers, extra glasses or contact lenses, prescription medications.

o       For Those With Disabilities: Special equipment and supplies, prescriptions and dosages, names and addresses of doctors and health care providers.

o       For Pets: Extra food and water for the pet(s), kitty litter, large capacity self-feeder and water dispenser, pet medications.


*Talk to your doctor about the safe handling of your prescription drugs.


Your kit can be constructed from any type of container. Examples include a large waterproof plastic container, a five-gallon or larger bucket, a duffle bag, in a pantry or in a closet. This kit can be scaled up or down depending on the size of your family. A one or two person kit can be put in a medium to large backpack. It might be best to purchase a medium price or higher bag due to the fact that you must be able to rely on the pack when it is needed. Military surplus packs are always a good option.

It might be a good idea to have a smaller personal survival kit for your work or school location. It is important to remember not to over pack or to under pack. Do not pack items that you might use. Also, do not pack light due to weight considerations. This kit will become extremely important in times of an emergency. While comfort is a consideration, the focus of the pack is survival in tough times.

Careful consideration should be given to the placement of the family emergency kit inside the home. If you are forced to evacuate you need to be able to get to the kit quickly. It also needs to be in a location that is going to allow access after a disaster has affected your home.

An emergency kit can be very expensive to prepare. If that is going to be a problem, see what items you have around you home already and use them first. Keep in mind that most items can be purchased at department stores or at high-end outdoor stores. Make sure that your kit not only fits your needs, but your wallet as well.