In the event of an emergency that does NOT involve an evacuation (such as a severe winter storm affecting travel, electricity, town water, etc.), it’s recommended that you have a household emergency kit as well as an emergency kit in each of your cars.
The household emergency kit should contain some basic supplies that will enable you to survive for at least three days following the emergency. The car emergency kits should contain supplies in case you’re stranded for hours or possibly a day or more.
The supplies should address basic survival needs (fresh water, food, clean air, warmth, and first aid), as well as items that meet the particular needs of your family and household.
Use the following lists as guides in putting together your household and car emergency kits. But you should also customize each kit so it provides for all members of your household, including children’s or seniors’ special needs, and pet needs.
- Carefully consider the food you include in your kits. For example, nuts can go rancid quickly; some protein bars could melt in the car in hot weather; etc.
- Remember to rotate the food and water items every few months to maintain their freshness.
- Emergency supplies kits are different from evacuation kits. For information on the latter, see Tips for Safe Evacuation, “Be Prepared” section.
Household Emergency Kit
Create a household emergency kit, stored in a protective container, such as a plastic bin or duffle bag, that includes the following items:
NOTE: This list assumes you already have standard household items, for example, scissors, basic tools and utility knife, work gloves, a sufficient number of blankets, sanitation supplies (toilet paper, soap, etc.), string and rope, trash bags, duct tape, and fire extinguishers.
- Non-perishable food items
(Include foods that don’t need to be cooked/heated in case your cooktop/stove is inoperable, foods that are reconstituted with water—like powdered milk, instant oatmeal, Cup of Noodles, etc.), and items that are individually wrapped or in cans or jars.)
- Manual can opener
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Radio (battery-powered, or hand crank/wind up)
- Weather/hazard radio (with backup battery power)
- Waterproof matches
- Extra batteries (all sizes)
- Essential medications and other medical needs
- Extra cash
- Candles or battery-powered lanterns
- Paper goods (including paper plates and plastic utensils and cups)
- Standard First Aid Kit and/or the following:
- Band-Aids (various sizes)
- Gauze pads (various sizes) and adhesive tape (various widths). Suggested tape: microspore/paper tape that’s latex-free and hypo-allergenic.
- Elastic bandages
- Antibiotic cream/ointment
- Small scissors, tweezers, needles, safety pins
- Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Small Splints (for example, popsicle sticks)
- Over-the-counter basic medicines and supplies:
laxative, anti-diarrhea, Syrup of Ipecac, aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Petroleum Jelly, etc.
Car Emergency Kit(s)
In addition to keeping your car(s) “gassed up,” it’s suggested that you have an emergency kit in each car, stored in a plastic bin or duffle bag, that includes the following basic items:
NOTE: Customize as appropriate for you and your family.
- First aid kit
- Class ABC fire extinguisher
- Radio (and extra batteries)
- Non-perishable food (stored in a plastic bin or coffee can)
- Bottled water
- Bag of sand and a shovel
- Tool kit
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Pre-moistened wipes
- Plastic bags (various sizes, including large trash bags)
- Essential medications
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Reflectors and flares
- Jumper cables
- Short rubber hose for siphoning
- Extra cash