Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Planning Ahead is Key

  • Make a contact plan for the whole family; discuss where to go and who to get in touch with.
  • Plan ahead for prescriptions, pets and other special needs.
  • Put together a Disaster Readiness Kit using the information on this page.

Whether a disaster is natural or man-made, preparation is essential. Begin by meeting with your family and discuss why you need to be prepared for a disaster, and work together to prepare a family disaster plan.

Plan Ahead

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. Pick places for your family to meet outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, or outside your neighborhood if you can't return home.
  • Designate an out-of-state friend or relative as the family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact. Family members need to call this family contact to let them know where they are in the event you cannot be together.
  • Plan for pets now if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency numbers by your phones, in your wallet or purse and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Stock nonperishable emergency supplies and a disaster readiness kit.

Readiness Kit

There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items in an easy-to carry container, such as a covered trash container, backpack, or duffle bag.


  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).


  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods.
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

Basic Kit

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile rolled bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile rolled bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue depressors
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

General Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)


  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items

Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

For Infants

In an emergency, breastfeeding protects babies from contaminated water supplies and provides protection against diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.  For more information on breastfeeding during an emergency and the benefits of doing so, please visit the La Leche League website at http://www.llli.org//emergency.html.

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles 
  • Medications
For Adults
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
Important Family Documents
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
  • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
Games and books
  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
Safety And Awareness

Being safe means being aware of your surroundings. If you see behavior that you think is suspicious or threatening, do not take action yourself.
Contact local law enforcement or call 911 if you notice suspicious activity.