Family Disaster Kit

Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. Some disasters may call for you and your family to evacuate (hurricanes, hazardous materials spills, fires). Other disasters could mean that you and your family may be confined at home. Preparing a Family Disaster Kit can help your family endure an evacuation or home confinement.

When Disaster Strikes

  • Authorities and relief workers will respond but cannot reach everyone immediately
  • You could get help in hours or it may take days
  • Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?

Prepare Your Kit

  • Gather the supplies that are listed. You may need them if your family is confined at home or during an evacuation.
  • Place the items you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.
  • There are basic items you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing, bedding, tools & emergency supplies, special items (prescription & non-prescription medications, sanitary items, important documents).


Store water in plastic containers. Avoid using milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water daily. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.

Store one (1) gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a three day supply per person (for drinking, food preparation and sanitation).


  • Store at least a three day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno.
  • Pack the following foods which can also be taken with you during an evacuation:
    • Ready-to-eat canned meat, fruits, vegetables, and staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.).
    • Don't forget a non-electric can opener.
    • Canned juices, high energy foods, vitamins, baby formula & bottles, and powdered milk.
    • Prescription medications: store in waterproof container, keep prescription records (check shelf life) accessible and current. Bring a medicine dropper and cooler (if needed for RX).
    • Dentures, contact lenses, and eyewear.

First Aid Kit

A well stocked first aid kit should include the following items:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
    • 2" & 4" sterile gauze pads
    • 2" & 3" sterile roller bandages
    • triangular bandages, assorted safety pins
  • Latex gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Scissors, tweezers, needle
  • Moistened towelettes, antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Non-prescription drugs:
    • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever.
    • Anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative.
    • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting) and activated charcoal (only use if advised by the Poison Control Center, 1-800-POISON-1).

Remember to store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version on the Disaster Preparedness Kit in the trunk of your car. Change stored water & food every six months.

Tools and Supplies

  • Plastic storage containers, mess kits, paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, plastic storage containers.
  • Shut off wrench - to turn off household gas and water.
  • Battery-operated radio and flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change.
  • Utility knife.
  • Non-electric can opener.
  • Pliers, tape, compass, needles, thread, signal flare, plastic sheeting or tent (for shelter).
  • Paper, pencil, whistle, map of the area.


  • Toilet paper, baby diapers, soap, liquid detergent, personal hygiene items, disinfectant, household chlorine bleach.
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid and plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses).

Special Items

  • Games and books for children.
  • Important family documents (keep in waterproof container) - birth, marriage and death certificates, driver's license, passport, insurance policies, social security card, health records, bank and credit card account numbers, safety deposit box keys.
  • Inventory of valuable household.

Click here for a Family Disaster Kit Information brochure.