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How to Prepare an Emergency Disaster Kit

Updated on May 7, 2012

This Kit Will Save Your Life

By: Cow Flipper

Proud Member of the HubPages Apprenticeship Program and Team Member of the ScribeSquad.


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Always Be Prepared!

  • "Always be prepared!"

How To Prepare an Emergency Disaster kit

That's the boyscout motto and let me tell you; when things go bad you are going to wish you'd of listened and done just that. The key is to have on hand what you'd need to get by if all outside resources are cut off. Whether you are snowed in, the power is out, a natural disaster has taken place, there is a terrorist attack, or even civil unrest you will be able to go on with life with relatively little inconvenience.

Now I am not telling you to run out today and go into unnecessary debt to fund a 72 hour kit. I believe that it is something we should all invest in over time. Yes you may not have everything in your kit if an emergency does happen, but you may have some of the items and at least you will be that much more prepared than you were. The key is to know how much these things will cost you and when you can budget that much into a fund for your emergency preparedness kit.

Much of what you'd need to survive and disaster you probably have in your home. Things like flashlights, batteries, a shovel, tools, duct tape. The key is to know where these items are and to have them at your disposal if an emergency occurs.

Your emergency kit is actually mostly a collection of simple household items that you may need for an emergency event. Assemble yourself a kit and designate a place in your home where it will relatively safe and in case it is dark in an area that that won’t be hard to get to.

You should be able to survive on your own after an emergency. It means that you need to have food, water, and supplies that is sufficient enough in quantity to last 72 hours. It may be true that relief workers and emergency personnel will be on the scene but they may not reach you or be able to get to you should you need help. Help may be hours to even days away.

Basic services like electricity, gas, water, trash pick up, the mail, phones, and sewage can be out for over a week or longer. Make sure you cover all the basics when putting together an emergency kit.

Good places to find supplies like this are outdoor and hunting supplies stores, army navy surplus stores, and online stores. Invest in food storage; have ready to eat meals like precooked military rations. Have bottled waters on hand and power bars for energy. Having these simple items can make a hellish three days into a in the house camping trip.

Where to put it all?

Locate a good place in your home to have the bulk of your supplies stored. Have a ready to go pack in each bedroom ready to go in case of an evacuation for each individual in your home. The list of things you will need is a long one but as I have mentioned most of the items you probably already have around your home.


  • Stored water - garage or shed 50 gallon drums or bottled waters.
  • Stored food - have a plastic garbage can full of canned and dried foods.
  • Personal Emergency packs in bedrooms or hall closets.
  • Have an extra phone battery if you have a cell phone in your nightstand or dresser.
  • Have a flashlight in your nightstand or dresser.
  • Keep a pair of shoes next to your bed.
  • Keep tools accessible in outside storage areas.

Keep Emergency Information Handy:

  1. Keep a phone-tree list of emergency contacts with your disaster kit.
  2. Have a family disaster plan with your disaster kit.

Personal Records and Funds:

  • Have personal records; Identifications, birth certificates, other documents.
  • Have your bank account documents and tax documents in a portable container.
  • Have cash, personal checks, travelers checks, and change.

Build Your Kit List

A 72 Hour Kit List:


  • A can opener (in your home)
  • An all purpose tool
  • Dishes and utensils (in your home)
  • A shovel (in your home)
  • A pocket knife (in your home)
  • A hand-axe
  • Duct tape (in your home)
  • Rope
  • A flashlight with DD batteries (in your home)
  • A radio with batteries
  • Extra batteries
  • A set of over 10 mile range two way radios
  • A pen and a journal (paper is fine)
  • A first aid kit and triage kit
  • Have multiple fire utensils in zip lock baggies (matches, lighters, flint starters, fuels)
  • Trash bags (large outdoor kind that tie off)
  • Toilet paper (in your home)
  • Feminine hygiene products (enough for each female for three days)
  • Medications (acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, allergy medications, child pain medications)
  • Prescription Medications (3 day supply on hand at all times)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Water (at least enough for a gallon a person a day for three days)
  • Bottled water
  • Canned and dry foods in storage (enough for three meals a person for three days)
  • A five gallon bucket
  • All weather clothing and footwear and extra underclothes and socks
  • Leather gloves
  • Prescription eye wear and an extra pair of glasses if you have them
  • A crowbar
  • A broom
  • Bleach
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra bedding and sleeping bags
  • A tent
  • Camping gear
  • An outside cooking source
  • Heating and cooking fuel
  • Candles and glow sticks
  • Books, magazines, board games, a deck of cards, toys, sports equipment; for entertainment
  • Candy and energy bars
  • Peanut butter and crackers

The Medical Kit:

Treating minor injuries in an emergency can mean saving someones life. It is a good idea to take a first aid class and CPR class. But having the following things in a first aid kit help you stop a person from bleeding and prevent future infections.

  • Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • 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. Have any a doctors note specifying what the medications are for and possible side effects.
  • Have instructions on administering medications like insulin and any reactions you may have to the medications.
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
  • Non-prescription drugs:
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative
  • Other first aid supplies:
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Keep medications out of the reach of children. You should have a lock on the case used to carry any medications and to keep them safe. Keep any instructions on how a person should administer the medication, and a list of side effects and what the drugs initial function is.

Knowing What to Do Will Save Your Life

Having supplies, a 72 hour kit, and the knowledge of what to do in an emergency will help keep you and your family alive and safe.


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    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I will definitely being working on a kit after reading this hub. So many people have everything stored in their cellphone, but if you lose power for a few days, you have no way to charge the phone, so having a printed list of phone numbers is a great idea that many people might easily overlook! I also liked your shout out to the scribesquad!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm printing this out to go over at home! Amazing list of necessities for a disaster. I have an earthquake kit in a backpack, as we live in California, but it definitely needs some updating!

    • Cow Flipper profile image

      Sean Jankowski 5 years ago from Southern Oregon

      Awesome responses, Judi Bee I owe you one. ;) I'm glad the information is helpful. I learned all this through years of being raised in a family where our religion taught us that we had to be prepared because history teaches us that the proverbial (THEY) in statements like, "I'm sure they are going to help us!" is really just wishful thinking.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      We had a sort of emergency last weekend - during a storm the garden retaining wall got knocked over by a tree and took out our gas supply with it, so no gas (no hot water or cooking) for nearly a week. We coped with what was really inconvenience, but it did make me wonder whatwe would do with a proper emergency - now I know!

      Voted up etc

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Bookmarked...just in case!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic hub! Being prepared is something we all need to take more seriously. Thank you for the awesome list and suggestions.

    • Jeff Gamble profile image

      Jeff Gamble 5 years ago from Denton, Texas

      Great Hub! We typically get severe weather in North Texas every Spring and Fall and emergency kits like this are a must