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Safety Corner: How to Put Together an Emergency Supply Kit

By Sandy Lyons-Jackson


If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the importance of being prepared for emergency situations. An emergency supply kit can not only provide needed food and supplies but also peace of mind.

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

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. Don’t forget your pet!)

  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, including pet food), infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper cream

  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, toweling, and utensils

  • Cooking pans and matches in waterproof container

  • Manual can opener

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • Blanket/sleeping bag for each person

  • At least one complete set of clothing for each person

  • Hygiene supplies, toiletries, and feminine supplies

  • Cash or traveler’s checks

  • First aid kit

  • Whistle (to signal for help)

  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air), as well as masks (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes

  • Prescription medications, and over the counter medications, prescription glasses (older pair if needed)

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)

  • All in one tool with wrench, screwdriver, saw

  • Local maps

  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities

  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

  • Copy of important family documents such as insurance policies, ID, banking info in a waterproof container


After assembling your kit, store the items in airtight plastic bags. Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers. Put your entire disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. Keep your kit in a designated, easy-to-get-to location.

It is important to maintain your kit, so it’s ready when needed:

  • Ensure your canned food remains cool and dry.

  • Replace expired items as needed.

  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

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