If you’ve survived an emergency or disaster, you and your family may have to continue surviving on your own for several days before emergency responders can reach or assist you. If you are prepared with basic items, it will increase your chances of staying safe and staying alive until help arrives.

Being prepared means having food, water, and other supplies that will sustain you for several days available to you in your family emergency kit. A family emergency kit is a collection of basic items you and your family may need in the event of a disaster or emergency. Weather-related disasters can happen at any time, so now is the time to create or check an existing emergency kit to ensure you have the items included you might need in an emergency.

Minimum Items to Include in Family Emergency Kit

  • One gallon of water for each person in your family that will last them a day. Plan for at least three days
  • Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items to last at least three days
  • Flashlight
  • Hank-crank, or battery-operated radio (weather radio if possible)
  • Spare or extra batteries
  • If you or any family member is on medication, you should have at least a seven-day supply of them
  • A multi-purpose tool
  • Personal hygiene and sanitation items
  • Copies of any personal documents, such as pertinent medical information, medications list, proof of address such as the deed or lease information to your home, insurance policies, birth certificates
  • Emergency and family contact information
  • Cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of the area

Consider these items for the different family members who will be stranded with you:

  • Medical supplies such as glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids with extra batteries, syringes, etc.
  • Prescription medications should be organized and protected, as well as over-the-counter medications and vitamins so you are prepared to grab any of those necessary when a disaster hits
  • An emergency kit should include non-prescription medicines such as antacids, anti-diarrhea, or laxatives
  • If there is a baby in your family, you should include baby food, diapers, bottles, etc.
  • Activities for children, such as cards or board games
  • If there is a pet in your family, you should include pet food, bowl, ID for your pet, leash, collar, pet carrier
  • Two-way radios
  • Spare set of keys for house and vehicles you own
  • Manual can opener
  • Paper and pen or pencil
  • Disposable cups, disposable plates, napkins or paper towels, and disposable utensils

Depending on the type of disaster  that could occur in your area, these are additional items to include in your family emergency kit:

  • Whistle
  • Surgical masks or N95
  • Rain gear
  • Matches stored in a water-tight container
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Supplies/tools for securing your house
  • Extra shoes, hats, clothes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Liquid bleach
  • Items to entertain each other while waiting for assistance
  • Sleeping bags or blankets

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now also recommends people include additional items in their emergency kits to prevent the spread of COVID. These items would include:

  • Masks for all those over the age of 2, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfecting wipes to keep surfaces clean

How to Store Your Family Emergency Kit

The items for your family emergency kit should be stored in a bag that is airtight and placed in one or two containers that will be easy to carry. The containers that work best include plastic bins or duffel bags. Once you have assembled your kit, you need to keep it maintained so it is ready when needed.

  • Keep all canned foods in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in a tightly closed metal or plastic container
  • If items in your kit expire, dispose of them and replace them
  • Think about what is in your kit at least once a year and determine your family’s needs to know if items should be eliminated and others added

Who to Contact if You Suffer a Disaster

Austin Fire & Flood is the expert in cleaning up after a disaster hits. Your home must receive the quick attention we will provide to quickly, safely, and effectively clean up any fire or water damage you experience after a disaster. Our technicians have extensive training, are extremely knowledgeable, and are committed to restoring your property as quickly and affordably as possible.