Tips for preparing your family’s disaster kit

No one wants to think about what would happen if a disaster or hurricane were to hit their home, but being prepared is everything. To help your family get through a disaster, there are a few things you need to do, including preparing an evacuation plan and packing up a disaster kit. If you’re wondering where to start when preparing your disaster kit, we’ve got some things for you to keep in mind as you assemble it.

1. Have the basics.

There are some fundamentals that your family will need if you have to weather a disaster. Below are the basic supplies that you should pack in your kit. Keep in mind that you need to consider your family’s specific needs and add supplies as necessary.

  • Water
    • 1 gallon per day per person.
    • Have enough for at least a three-day supply, if not longer.
    • Consider that children, nursing mothers, and people who are ill might need more water.
    • Medical emergencies can also necessitate a larger water supply.
    • The weather can also play a part in how much water you need.
  • Food
    • 3-day supply of nonperishable food (If you’re doing canned food don’t forget the handheld can opener)
  • Battery-powered or crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio – don’t forget the extra batteries!
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Whistle to make it easier for rescue crews to locate you
  • Dust masks, plastic tarps, and duct tape to shelter if you need to
  • Sanitary supplies
    • Wipes
    • Garbage bags
    • Plastic ties for garbage bags
    • Feminine products
  • Tools to shut off the utilities
  • Maps of the area (remember that your phone might not work)
  • Emergency cell phone and charger
  • Any prescription medications (The Red Cross recommends a 7-day supply)
  • Pet supplies (if needed)
  • Baby supplies (if needed)


2. Know what extra supplies you’ll need.

As we mentioned, it’s important to consider what your family members are going to need and provide accordingly. Some additional supplies you might want to include in your disaster kit are:

  • Cash
  • Copies of your family’s important documents (make sure to store these in a waterproof container of some sort)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Change of clothing for everyone
    • Long-sleeved shirt
    • Long pants
    • Good shoes
  • Household bleach (NOT scented or color-safe varieties, or any type that has extra cleaners) and eyedropper
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Eating utensils
  • Paper and pen or pencil
  • Books and games for children
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Scissors

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3. Consider where you live.

Not every area has the same risk for the same disasters. You should know what disasters you’re most likely to face and what you’d need to respond to them. Somewhere along the coast, for instance, is obviously more likely to be affected by a hurricane than somewhere inland, which might have a higher risk of being hit by a tornado. The kit should be stocked accordingly.

When you’re packing supplies into your disaster kit, you’ll also want to think about the climate in which you live. For instance, if you live in a place that gets extremely hot in the summer (or is generally warmer year-round) you might want to have extra water. If your climate gets tends to be cooler, you’ll need to have extra blankets, clothing, and warm things for your family.


4. Know the goal of the kit.

Remember that electricity, gas, water, sewage, and phones might not work if you’ve been hit with a disaster. The intent of the kit is to make sure that your family can be as comfortable and safe as possible in those conditions. Pack your kit to get your entire family through a minimum of three days.

5. Update the kit.

You should check the expiration dates of your food and water and change them out every six months as needed. If you’ve set aside medications, know when they expire so that you can change them out with an updated supply and use them before they do. Also, consider any changes your family has gone through that might impact the supplies in the kit. Your needs might have changed over the course of the year.

6. Think about where you’re going to stash your kit.

You should keep your items in airtight plastic bags. Pack the bags into an easy to manage container, like a duffel bag or unused trash bin. Store your kit in a cool, dry place in your home and make sure that everyone knows where it is—and that it’s only to be used for emergencies.


7. Think about making a portable kit for the car.

While you’re prepping your home disaster kit, why not pack a mobile kit for your car? Think about what you would want to have if you were stranded in your car or if you got stuck somewhere, or if you had to drive away suddenly without the chance to go home first.

8. Know your insurance.

While you’re getting your disaster preparedness kit together, you might want to think about what will happen after you get through the storm. Make sure that you’re familiar with your insurance policy and that you know what it covers. Keep your policy up-to-date and inform your insurance agent about any significant changes you’ve made to your home.


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We hope that you never have to go through a natural disaster, but there’s always the chance that it could happen. You should be prepared for anything, and one of the best ways to do that is to prepare your disaster kit ahead of time. Think about what you’ll need and get that kit together sooner rather than later—you’ll be thanking yourself if nature throws something your way.

Need insurance? Want a free quote? We can help! We’d love to talk to you about what coverage you need for your home, so give us a call today. We’re here for you.