Posted by Avi Goldstein on 27th May 2014

How to Build your own Disaster Preparedness Kit

The Importance of being prepared

People across the United States have become aware of the destructive force of Mother Nature. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and floods have all taken a toll on many areas. It seems lately that these disasters are increasing in both intensity and occurrence, and now more than ever it is important for people to prepare for these events, in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. One of the best (and least expensive) step that people can take is by building their own disaster preparedness kit.

The Kit

Having a proper kit on hand can make a real difference in those few days after a natural disaster hits and before agencies like the Red Cross or FEMA can get out there to provide assistance. Without running water, heat, emergency medical supplies, and other items on hand, trying to make it through can become incredibly challenging. By having the essentials on hand, you can help provide relief for yourself and family members. There are many items that can be placed in a kit, but we have looked at what the Red Cross recommends for flood preparedness kits as a basic starting point and worked from there. If there are other items or supplies that you feel that would be of use or necessary for your family, by all means add them.

The Basics

The Red Cross recommends that people have these as a minimum on hand

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food (think granola bars, canned soup, etc.)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and daily use medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blankets
  • Map(s) of the area
  • If you have infants: Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • If you have pets: Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage

What StatGear recommends:

For the kit itself, it is important to store it in an easy to carry watertight container (or more than one). And any first aid kit should include as a minimum of:

  • 2 pairs of Nitrile gloves
  • 2 4X4 gauze pads
  • 2 large adhesive bandages
  • 10 regular sized adhesive bandages
  • 4 roller gauze packages
  • 1 latex elastic bandages
  • 2 instant ice packs
  • 4 alcohol prep pads
  • 1 roll of medical tape
  • 1 triangular bandage with 2 safety pins
  • 2 tubes of antibiotic ointment
  • 1 pair of tweezers

While a good kit may not be able to cover everything you may need in an emergency, having one on hand can truly make a difference when disaster strikes.