What Should Be in an Emergency Survival Kit?

Reviewed on 9/10/2021

It is always a good idea to have an emergency survival kit in the event of a major disaster, such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, and more. Your emergency kit should include a variety of supplies, including enough food, water, first aid, medication, pet, and other supplies in order to survive on your own for several days.
It is always a good idea to have an emergency survival kit in the event of a major disaster, such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, and more. Your emergency kit should include a variety of supplies, including enough food, water, first aid, medication, pet, and other supplies in order to survive on your own for several days.

Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disasters are emergencies that can leave people without access to supplies.

Depending on the severity of the emergency, people may need to survive on their own for several days, which means having an emergency survival kit with enough food, water, and other supplies available to last while waiting for help. 

Disaster Preparedness Kit

A basic emergency supply kit should be stored in airtight plastic bags, within one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or duffel bags. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the following basic items to include in a disaster supply kit:

  • Water 
    • One gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food 
    • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Manual can opener for canned food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Local maps
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives
  • Prescription medications
  • Any special supplies for family members who are elderly or disabled

Emergency Pet Supplies

Remember to make plans and a kit for your pet(s). Pet supplies may include: 

  • Pet food: several days’ supply in an airtight, waterproof container
  • Water 
  • Pet first aid kit (consult your veterinarian for what to include)
  • Any medicines your pet needs in a waterproof container
  • Collar with an ID tag and a harness or leash, along with a backup collar, ID tag, and leash
  • Copies of your pet’s registration information and other relevant documents
  • Travel bag, crate, or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Grooming items
  • Sanitation needs such as pet litter and litter box, newspapers, plastic trash bags, paper towels, and household bleach 
  • Familiar items such as favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit to help reduce your pet’s stress 
  • A picture of you and your pet together in case you become separated from your pet during an emergency
    • This can help document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet
  • First aid kit 
    • Talk to your veterinarian about any recommendations based on what may be your pet’s emergency medical needs
    • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends: 
      • Absorbent gauze pads
      • Adhesive tape
      • Cotton balls or swabs
      • Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (always check with veterinarian or animal poison control expert before giving to your pet)
      • Ice pack
      • Disposable gloves
      • Scissors with blunt end
      • Tweezers
      • Over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic ointment
      • Oral syringe or turkey baster
      • Liquid dishwashing detergent (for bathing)
      • Towels
      • Small flashlight
      • Alcohol wipes
      • Styptic powder
      • Saline eye solution
      • Artificial tear gel
      • Phone number, clinic name, address of your veterinarian along with local veterinary emergency clinics.  

Cold, Flu, & COVID Supplies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu, such as: 

  • Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for the climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Feminine supplies 
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children

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Reviewed on 9/10/2021
References
https://www.ready.gov/kit

https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/how-make-pet-first-aid-kit