How to Make an Emergency KitHow to Make an Emergency Kit

The unexpected is, well, unexpected. Emergencies happen in various forms. But you do not have to be unprepared for an emergency. You should be ready to be self-sufficient for 72 hours. You may already have many of the supplies needed, but it is important to put them together in an easily accessible place. A suitcase with wheels is ideal or divide it between two or three backpacks. If you have a large family the emergency kit could get heavy. In that case, you may want to have more than one kit ready. Here are some tips to help you gather the supplies for your own emergency home preparedness kit.


You may be without tap water. You will need both drinking water and water for washing and sanitary purposes. Provide at least one gallon of water per person per day. This should be water from the store as it is pure and will keep for a long time; water from the faucet may not. You don’t want to find algae in the drinking water when you have an emergency.

For your home, water for washing can be stored in a new plastic trashcan. Place the trashcan where it will be stored and fill it with water from the hose there. It will be too heavy to move after it is filled. This can be stored in the garage, on a balcony or patio. Just add a half cup of chlorine, put the cover on it and if it is out of doors, fasten the lid with a bungee cord so that critters don’t knock it off and dirty the water. You can use this water to bathe in or flush the toilet. Remember every toilet has one free flush in the tank. Use it wisely. In emergencies, if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, send it down. Keep a bucket for getting wash water from you supply.


You will need food for at least three days, preferably food that does not need cooking. If you have a barbeque, keep extra charcoal and lighter on hand, and make the emergency a picnic. Even a small camp stove can help out but move the BBQ or camp stove at least ten feet away from your home and cook only outdoors.

A manual can opener is important. Boxes of cereal can be eaten as is, or keep some powdered or canned milk in the emergency kit. Dried fruit, nuts, canned olives, canned meat or fish and crackers are good additions. The foods that you eat regularly that will not spoil and require no cooking or refrigeration are best. Anyone in your family with special dietary needs should have something that fits their diet. Canned soups, dietetic food and fruit or juices will help. Be sure to include some utensils–either disposable or regular, with one setting for each family member. Bouillon products, dried corn, dry pasta, instant coffee, tea, cocoa, and white rice can be stored indefinitely. Other foods need to be replaced periodically.

Other Supplies

A wind-up or battery powered flashlight, a battery operated radio and fresh batteries, stored separately from the devices will keep you up to date with what is happening and help you navigate at night. Also have your cell phone with chargers and extra batteries.

You should add a seven days’ supply of prescription medicine for each family member, documents about any chronic medical conditions, a blanket, soap, toothbrush and personal care items. Finally add family contact information, copies of important documents like passports, insurance cards and immunization records. Copies of house and car keys, a map of the area and extra cash finish out your emergency kit for your home. Hopefully you will never need it, but it is good to know that you are prepared.

For more information and advice on building your own kit, check out resources provided by the CDC, Red Cross, and

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1 Comment

  1. Lauren June 30, 2015 Reply

    Great tips for building an emergency kit, Miriam. It never hurts to be prepared! Thanks for sharing.

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