Preparing for an emergency includes making a kit of emergency supplies. You need enough supplies for every family member for at least three days. You could consider five days preparation in areas normally affected by earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, blizzards, and floods.
Why a Kit Is Important
- You may need to evacuate with little or no notice, with only essentials.
- You may not have the time or access to search or shop for these essentials, let alone the items or brands your family and pets depend on.
- You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after an emergency, but are not always able to reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it may take days.
- Basic services may be cut off for days or weeks after a disaster. Your supplies should contain items that help you during electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephone outages.
The main items to have in your kit include water, food, and first aid supplies. Be sure to include copies of important personal documents such as birth and marriage certificates, titles, and bill, mortgage, and insurance information. (These can be electronic copies on durable storage media such as a thumb drive which can be easily carried and updated.) You may also need to include additional supplies to meet the needs of any children, pets, or special-needs family members.
You may not be at home when disaster strikes, so make smaller emergency kits to keep at work and in your car. You also need a portable kit to take with you if you go to a shelter or evacuate.
The Emergency Kits fact sheet provides more tips and a list of items to include in your kits, as well as links to handy checklists you can download from the sites of national emergency planning and response agencies.
A fact sheet on Noncombatant Evacuation Operations includes specific instructions for a NEO Kit.