Sunday, June 1, 2008

Emergency Kit for your Home

How to Pack an Emergency Kit for the House

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

In case an emergency happens in your area, you want to be ready. Here are some tips on how to create an emergency kit for your home. Remember to also prepare a kit in the event that you may need to evacuate.


  1. Look at the Things You'll Need to see what your kit should contain.
  2. Make a first aid kit if you don't already have a one.In an emergency you or a loved one could be cut, burned or injured in some other way. If you have these basic supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.
  3. Determine what hazards exist in your local area. Contact your local emergency manager and ask. If your locale does not have an emergency manager, check with your county or state emergency management official for assistance.
  4. Write a plan based on the hazards, then build a kit to support the plan.
  5. Pack according to location. Depending on where you live, you might need different things in an emergency such as flood, hurricane, tornado. Of course there are a few things that you should have regardless of location.
  6. Pack a map in your kit. These are especially helpful if you must evacuate and emergency routes may involve detours.
  7. Gather together the items on the list that you already have at home.
  8. Keep a running list. If you can't pick up everything at once you should add an item or two to each shopping trip.
  9. Designate a first aid kit for emergency or disaster and one for everyday use. Your first aid kit should contain:

    • A minimum of two pairs of Latex gloves for the smallest kit. Remember, it may be a stranger who needs your help and having a latex barrier will help prevent infection.

      • Use vinyl gloves if you or a family member is allergic to Latex. Latex allergies can be severe.
      • Keep more pairs in your disaster kit that will evacuate with you. You may go through several pairs in one emergency.
      • Check the integrity of the gloves if they've been stored in changing temperatures. They may become brittle. Sometimes gloves deeper in a box may still be good so don't toss the box because the first few pairs are bad. Look through them all.

    • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding. (Look for bulky dressings called surgi pads in health supply stores)
    • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.

      • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

    • Burn ointment to relieve pain.
    • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
    • Gauze pads
    • Micropore tape
    • Tweezers
    • Scissors
    • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or sterile saline as general decontaminate. Sterile saline is available in liter bottles in health supply stores.
    • Thermometer
    • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers.

      • You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates and have a plan for refrigerated insulin.

    • Over the counter pain medicine (Like Tylenol and Advil) and an antihistamine (Like Benadryl).
    • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.

  10. Go to the store to buy the items you don't already have.
  11. Obtain a waterproof box. This does not have to be expensive. Just a large waterproof box with a lid. These are available in the storage sections of most discount stores.

    • It should be small enough so that in an emergency, you can roll it into your car, yard, or home in just a few minutes. Look for something with wheels and/or handles.
    • Consider placing kits in your home, car, and workplace.
    • You never know where you'll be when an emergency strikes.
    • Use backpacks or plastic tool boxes for jump and run bags.
    • Keep everything sorted with clear zip sandwich, quart or gallon bags.
    • For worker/s in large urban areas keep a back pack under your desk which contains water, energy bars, flashlight, spare socks and good walking shoes in case public transportation is disrupted.

  12. Stay hydrated! Water is the most essential life sustaining resource. Keeping water (in clean plastic bottles) in your home, car trunk, and workplace will keep you hydrated when you're under stress.

    • You may need more water for children, nursing mothers, the elderly or if you live in a warm climate.
    • You may need to add electrolyte replacement drinks (gatorade or powerade) to replace valuable minerals in warm or humid weather or if you will be very active.

  13. Keep at least a three-day supply of the items listed in the "Things You'll Need" section (below) in the box.
  14. Consider other things you might need--especially things such as medication, bandages, or other things according to age, location, or health.


  • Make sure that if space is limited, everything you bring is essential.
  • Cell phones are optional, but are highly useful in emergencies. Pack two methods for charging or powering your cell phone. External battery packs or a car charger are examples.
  • Self Powered Radio AND Self Powered Flashlight.Batteries will be unavailable in a emergency and some models will also charge your cell phones.Some of these devices are solar powered as well as using a "crank generator". Find these at Radio Shack, Wal*Mart, Online.
  • Glowsticks. Candles are a safety hazard, especially if there is gas leaks going on, explosive, flammable gas is in the area. They can cause a fire, even a explosion.
  • Family Radio System (FRS) radios can be useful in keeping in touch with your friends or family in a small area when telephones are out.
  • Consider becoming an amateur radio operator. This allows one to communicate over greater distances, even to other states and countries.
  • Practice emergency drills with your family. Fire drills are important to teach your family, in case there ever were to be a fire.
  • DC to AC converters for cars are handy for charging cell phones, powering your TV, radios, running refrigerators, etc.
  • Keep old prescription glasses when you get new glasses. An old pair of glasses is better than none at all.
  • Make your kit portable, in the event that you would need to evacuate.
  • Remember, many injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate medical attention. Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. Consider [Community Emergency Response Team] training. Students may be given a kit that can be used as a starter for your personal disaster kit.
  • Make sure you include an original prescription bottle with dosage information in case you need to get medicines refilled during an event.
  • In deciding what food to put in your emergency kit, remember to choose food your family will actually eat. Good choices include:

    • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
    • Protein or fruit bars
    • Dry cereal or granola
    • Peanut butter
    • Dried fruit
    • Nuts
    • Crackers
    • Canned juices
    • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
    • High energy foods
    • Vitamins
    • Food for infants
    • Comfort/stress foods


  • Bring only what you need.
  • Consider temperatures where you store your kits - heat can significantly degrade the quality of supplies in a few months. Try to store supplies in an area constantly below 80 degrees F and out of direct sunlight.
  • Avoid putting salty foods in your emergency kit, as they will only make you thirsty. [1]

Things You'll Need

  • Sleeping bag or warm blankets. Make sure you have at least one good sleeping bag or heavy blanket for each family member.
  • Water, if the water supply is contaminated or declared undrinkable, you should have several gallons on hand. A good guide is one gallon of water per person per day, for 3 days.[2]
  • Food for your family for three days -- canned, non-perishable foods that last a long time. Don't forget to include a manual can-opener.
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
  • Self powered flashlights which are available in the local Walmart and Radio Shack, and also online, as are glow sticks. These types of lights are safer than candles, and do not use batteries, which will be unavailable in a emergency
  • Wrench, or whatever you would need to turn off utilities in your house. Other emergency tools are also a good idea.
  • Extra clothing for warmth
  • Waterproof matches, or lighter
  • Unique family needs -- medication you may need such as heart medications, prescription glasses, etc., infant formula and diapers etc.
  • Weather radio with tone alert to get updates about severe weather conditions. In the U.S., NOAA weather radios are the best way to stay informed about National Weather Service weather warnings and watches. The radio should be battery-operated and have a tone-alert feature that automatically notifies you when an advisory is issued. Some "Self Powered Radios" also have the weather band, will also "Alert" you.
  • Self powered radio -- available from your local discount or electronics store, this will save you money on batteries, and batteries will not be available in a emergency. The "Eton" radio, a "Self Powered" radio is a Weather Radio as seen above, only it does NOT use batteries, has a LED flashlight built into it, a RED LED "ALERT" light built into it,a "ALERT" siren, and has the Weather Band built into it. This model will even charge cell phones, should they run low on power.
  • An extra set of car keys and cash and/or a credit card.
  • Pet food and water
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask for filtering contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Local maps

Other Items to Consider
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Activities for children (books, games, puzzles etc.)

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • -- source of information and some text, public domain government resource


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