Earthquakes, floods, and other disasters can seriously disrupt normal life. Services may not be available, transportation may be cut off and roads may be blocked. In some cases, you may be forced to evacuate. Be ready to respond to any situation by assembling and maintaining a Disaster Supplies Kit.


Plan on one gallon of water per person per day. Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as mason jars or glass bottles. Use water for health.

Because water is so important to human survival, it should never be withheld. Drink at least two quarts per day, as long as supplies last, and look for alternative sources.


Store at least a three-day supply of no-perishable food. Choose foods that require no refrigeration, cooking, or preparation and are compact and lightweight. If food must be cooked, include a can of sterno.

Food suggestions:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples-sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods-peanut butter, jelly, crackers, nuts, health food bars, trail mix.
  • Comfort stress foods-cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals.
  • Vitamins
  • Container
  • Store the supplies in an easy-to-carry object such as a large, covered trash container, camping backpack, or a duffel bag.

First Aid Kits

Have two first aid kits. Keep a complete first aid kit in your home and car.
Items to include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch gauze pads
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needles
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent-soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)
  • Sunscreen
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for upset stomach)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Contact your local Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid textbook.

Supplies and Tools

  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher, small canister, A-B-C type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Signal flares
  • Paper and pencils
  • Needles and thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting

Clothing and Bedding

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • One blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses


  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal items-shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm.
  • Small shovel, for digging and expedient latrine
  • Plastic garbage bag and ties
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Special Items

Include items for household members with special needs, such as infants, elderly, or disabled individuals.

  • Babies
    • Formula
    • Diapers
    • Bottles
    • Powdered Milk
    • Medications
  • Elderly people
    • Heart and high blood pressure medication
    • Insulin
    • Prescription drugs
    • Denture needs
  • Favorite entertainment items
    • Coloring books and crayons
    • Games
    • Books

Important Documents

Keep these records in a waterproof container.

  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds.
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Savings and checking account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

Storage Suggestions

Store the kit in a safe, convenient place known to all family members. If possible, it should be a cool, dry, dark location. Keep a smaller version of your Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car. Keep items, or groups of items, in water-proof and air tight plastic bags. Change the water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Rotate the food every six months. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the proper procedure for storing prescription medications. Replace batteries often.