Emergency Preparedness: The Basics

Disaster can strike any household in a moment’s notice, whether it be a destructive monsoon, a power outage, or a mass evacuation. If you are not prepared before disaster strikes, scrambling for supplies, medical records, or any important documentation could be difficult if not impossible depending on the given circumstances. All individuals should have at least some basic supplies prepared to survive for three days if an emergency occurs. This is especially important for families who have members with dietary restrictions or other special needs and requirements. It is vital that the needed amounts of medications, formulas, special foods, or any other important items are available at a moment’s notice if an emergency occurs. When preparing your own personal emergency supply kit, it is important to keep in mind where you live, and any other unique circumstances that could affect what items you should consider. Here is a basic list of supplies to consider adding to your emergency preparedness kit:


  • Three days’ supply of non-perishable food and formula
  • Three days’ worth of water (suggested is three gallons of water per person for drinking and sanitation)
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Whistle for signaling
  • Extra batteries
  • Pet supplies
  • Prescription medication
  • Cash and change
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • A complete change of clothes
  • Sturdy shoes for extended periods of walking
  • Household bleach/a multipurpose disinfectant
  • Matches in a watertight container or any other waterproof fire-starting device
  • Feminine supplies
  • Manual can opener
  • Writing supplies
  • Pocket knife
  • Local maps
  • Battery powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Water filtration device


This is list is only a place to start, every individual’s or family’s kit will vary depending on specific needs. It is also important to acknowledge that you will not always be at your home when a disaster strikes, therefore it is important to keep your car stocked with basic supplies to help you survive on the road. An event as simple as traffic or a road block on a rural highway could leave you stranded in your car for hours, even a whole day. A basic list of automobile supplies could include:


  • Water
  • Formula supply and prescription medication
  • Blankets
  • Cash and change
  • First aid kit
  • Signaling devices
  • Flashlight
  • Non-perishable food
  • Maps
  • Writing material
  • Rope
  • Tools
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape

If creating an emergency preparedness kit seems too big of a task, consider starting small and collect a few basic needs such as water food and the necessary medical needs. You can always build up from there, but any preparation is better than no preparation.