Public Health

How to Assemble Your Disaster Supplies Kit

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Disasters happen with little or no warning. Knowing you’ve done all you can to prepare for the unexpected can put your mind at ease and give your family the best chance for a positive outcome.

Keeping critical supplies on-hand and ready to grab at a moment’s notice is an important part of your family’s preparedness plan. It can save you time when every minute counts, keep your family comfortable and even be lifesaving.

But what supplies should be included? Using this checklist is a good way to know where to start.

Have a family meeting to gather and store the items. Working together will ensure everyone knows where the supplies are kept and understands the disaster plan.

As you round up the needed items, also consider which type of container would work best. A clear plastic bin with a lid that snaps securely works well. That way you can:

  • Carry it easily
  • Make sure water or weather can’t easily get into your container
  • See through the container to verify you have the right one (remember you may be in a hurry and not thinking clearly

Disaster Supplies Checklist

There are two important pieces to being ready for a disaster – things you need to do and the kit that you need to assemble.

Here, we give you guidance on both.

Disaster Preparedness Things to Do

  • Assemble a family supply kit
  • Assemble a pet supply kit if needed
  • Compile emergency contact numbers (family and doctors)
  • Compile a list of all medications and dosages
  • Create a family disaster plan
  • Fuel all vehicles
  • Put together a paper file of all personal documents (store in waterproof bags)
  • Put together a paper file of all medical records and documents (store in waterproof bags)
  • Store a 2-week supply of water at home (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Take a photograph of each family member (in case you get separated and need them for identification)
  • Take a photograph of your pets (in case you get separated and need them for identification)

Disaster Kit Supplies

  • Activities for the kids
  • Baby supplies if needed
  • Batteries
  • Can opener (manual)
  • Cash (ATMs may not be functional)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Change of clothing for each family member
  • Eating utensils, plates and cups
  • Extra fuel for generator
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Food (minimum of 3 day supply, easy to prepare, non-perishable)
  • Household bleach and dropper to disinfect water
  • Map of local area
  • Masks to filter any contaminated air
  • Matches in waterproof pouch
  • Medications (7 day supply stored in waterproof bags)
  • Multi-purpose tool (to turn off utilities if needed)
  • NOAA weather radio or hand crank radio
  • Paper and Pencils
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (for sheltering in place)
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Water (3 gallons per person for evacuation)
  • Whistle (for signaling for help)

Don’t Forget to Plan for Your Pets

Pets are loving members of the family that rely on you for their physical and emotional support, especially during a disaster. If possible, bring your pets indoors. Or, if you’re trapped outdoors, keep them close to you. Your pet should be wearing a secure collar and identification tag with his or her name and your contact information.

Just like your family’s supplies, you’ll want to store your pet’s supplies in an easy-to-carry and water-resistant container. Be sure to include:

  • Bowls
  • Can opener (manual)
  • Cat litter if needed
  • Food
  • Gloves and garbage bags (in case you need to dispose of pet waste)
  • Litter box if needed
  • Medications and medical records (store in water-proof bag)
  • Pee pads
  • Pet bed or crate
  • Sturdy collar, harness and leash
  • Toys
  • Water

Maintain Your Disaster Supplies Kit

You may not use your kit for quite some time. While that’s wonderful — because it means you haven’t needed emergency supplies — it can present some challenges. Periodically check your survival kit for expired items and replace them immediately.

Also, since situations change, be sure to make adjustments to your disaster kit as your family’s needs change. For example, if you have a baby or get a new pet, you’ll want to adjust your supplies to account for these new family members.

If you’re storing boxed foods, ensure they’re in tightly-closed plastic or metal storage containers to preserve freshness.

Store Your Disaster Supplies Kit in a Prime Location

You’ll also want to carefully consider where you store your supplies. A cool, dry place is best, but you’ll also want to ensure supplies are easily accessible.

It may be a good idea to assemble multiple supply kits, one for each of the following locations:


Keep this kit in a location that’s easy to access in the event you need to evacuate your home quickly. Make sure each family member knows where the survival kit is kept.


You may become stranded in your vehicle when a disaster strikes. If you don’t have room for a full disaster survival kit, make a smaller kit stocked with water, non-perishable foods, tools, first aid supplies, flashlight, dust mask to filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape for sheltering in place. This survival kit should also be stored in plastic container with a lid.


You may find yourself at work when a disaster happens and could become stranded there for at least 24-hours. You should consider keeping a modified disaster survival kit in your work area. It should contain food, water and things such as medicines, walking or other comfortable shoes and a change of clothes that can be stored in a backpack or similar bag you can grab in a hurry.

Download the FEMA App

You need to be aware of weather and emergency updates from the National Weather Service as well as sheltering information and any disaster resource centers in your area. One way to stay on top of all this is by downloading the FEMA app:

You can also check the Facebook page of your local AdventHealth hospital for updates in your community.

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