Build a Kit

After a large disaster, households may need to rely on themselves and what they have on hand for up to two weeks. Having an emergency kit can help you take care of yourself and people around you during and after a disaster.

Tailoring an emergency kit to your household or situation will help you be even more prepared. When you are building your emergency kit ask yourself 'what does my household rely on every day? If we can't access those supplies like we usually do, how can we adapt?' This will help tailor your kit to your specific needs.

This list will help with basic supplies everyone should have in case of an emergency, but it is not a complete list. 

Basic Disaster Supplies

Start with these basic disaster supplies that everyone should have. Make modified kits to have preparedness items at places like your workplace, school, or for bags that you might take on various outings.

  • Water - One gallon per person per day for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - At least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food (don't forget a manual can opener)
  • NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket and warm clothing
  • Flashlights or headlamps with extra batteries (don't use candles for light or heat)
  • Whistle
  • Dust masks
  • Sanitation supplies including moist towelettes, garbage bags, and feminine products
  • Non-sparking utility tool to turn off utilities
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone chargers and backup batteries

Going shopping? Download the Emergency Supply Checklist(PDF, 111KB) here.

Additional Supplies

Add extra items to your kit based on special considerations for your household.

  • Prescription medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Non-prescription medications
  • Extra glasses or contact lenses with solution
  • Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Infant care items
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Copies of important documents like birth certificates, insurance information, bank records, identification, and other records in a fireproof lock box and stored electronically.
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Change of clothes including sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Waterproof matches
  • Cooking gear like a portable stove 
  • Portable dishes and silverware
  • Entertainment like books, games, or puzzles
  • Pen and paper

Emergency Supplies for Transportation

In case you get stranded or stuck, keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle. Think about the things you would want in case you had to spend a night in your car or leave your vehicle and walk somewhere safe. Be sure to include these items:

  • Jumper-cables.jpgJumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • Ice scraper
  • Car cell phone charger or battery pack
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Local maps
  • Cat litter or sand for traction
  • Car chains or other traction devices
  • Warm clothing layers
  • First aid kit
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sturdy walking shoes


If you walk, bike or take transportation, make sure you consider carrying a few extra items with you in case of emergencies. 

  • Mini first aid kit
  • Multiple denominations of cash
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Cell charger and battery pack
  • Extra layer(s) of clothing

Emergency Supplies for Your Workplace

On top of having preparedness items at home, make sure you include a disaster go-bag at work as well! Keep these items in a place where you can easily access them and grab them when an emergency happens. Having these items will allow you to be more prepared in case of a disaster, as well as have a few items of comfort.

  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Water
  • Extra change of clothes
  • Important phone numbers written down in case of network disruptions
  • USB drive that contains updated important work documents
  • Money
  • Blanket(s)
  • Personal hygiene items
  • First aid kit and gloves

Emergency Supplies for Pets

As you create your own household emergency kit, create one for pets as well! This list will help you get started:

  • Water. At least 3 gallons of water specifically for each pet.
  • Food. At least a 3 day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Medicines and medical records.
  • First aid kit. Include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, non-latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Keep in mind that adhesive bandages may cause irritation to animals.
  • Spare collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag, and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy crate or pet carrier in case you need to evacuate. You can store emergency supplies in the carrier when not in use.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and a litter box if needed. Include plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for cleaning.
  • A photo of you and your pet together. This can help with reunification if you and your pets are separated, and helps document your ownership. Write down species, breed, age, sex, color, distinguishing characteristics, and your contact information on the back of the photo.
  • Comfort items. Bring a favorite treat or toy to reduce pet stress.

See a downloadable version(PDF, 825KB)(PDF, 825KB)  of this list with additional information. En español.(PDF, 233KB)



Special Considerations for Access and Functional Needs

  • In addition to having your basic survival supplies, your emergency kit should contain items to help meet individual needs during an emergency. Consider the items you need on a daily basis and how you could build up extra supplies, substitute other supplies, or function with existing supplies during a disaster.

    Tips for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

    Tips for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

    • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print.
    • Keep a Braille or Deaf-Blind communications device in your emergency kit.

    Tips for People With a Mobility Disability

    • If you use a power wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup if possible. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair in addition to whether or not it is collapsible in case it has to be transported.
    • Show trusted individuals how to operate your wheelchair.
    • Purchase an extra battery for power wheelchairs or other battery-powered medical or assistive technology devices. Keep batteries on a trickle charger.
    • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires or an extra inner tube in your emergency supply kit if your wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof.
    • Keep a backup mobility device such as a cane or walker if you use one.
    • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you.

    Additional Kit Items

    • Keep at least week-long supply of any prescription medications on hand. Talk to your healthcare provider about developing an emergency supply. Keep paper and digital copies of prescriptions in a safe place.
    • Create a list of what medications you or a loved one takes, what the medications are for, and the dosage of each medication.
    • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, and hearing-aid batteries.
    • A list of the serial number and style of any assistive devices used. Include special instructions for operating your equipment, if needed.
    • Copies of medical insurance cards and information.
    • Contact information for doctors and your support network.
    • Extra animal preparedness supplies for your service animals.

Kit Maintenance and Storage

Emergency Kit Maintenance 

Make sure your emergency kit is ready to use by maintaining and updating it regularly.

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store water in sturdy containers in locations that wont freeze (detached garages can freeze and break water containers)
  • Look through your kit annually and replace any expired items

Emergency Kit Storage

Disasters can strike no matter where you are, so keep a kit at home, at work, and in vehicles.

  • Home: Make sure everyone in the household knows where emergency supplies are and how to use them. Have some supplies ready to grab quickly in case the household needs to evacuate.
  • Work: Keep enough supplies to shelter at work for at least 24 hours in case you cannot get home. Include food, water, medications, comfortable walking shoes in a location you can quickly grab what you need.
  • Vehicle: Keep supplies in your vehicle in case you get stranded.






Emergency Preparedness