According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of adults in the U.S. do not have resources and plans in place in case of emergency. People often think if a disaster strikes they’ll have enough time to run to the grocery store, but stores sell out of important supplies quickly and they may end up without access to food, water or electricity for several days. Preparing emergency kits for you and your family is an important step in staying safe and healthy during a disaster.

Here’s what you’ll need in an emergency supply kit:

At Least a 3-day Supply of Food and Water

Water – one gallon per person, per day

Food – foods that are easy to make and won’t spoil, like canned soup, dry pasta and powdered milk

Manual can opener

Basic utensils to prepare and serve meals

Health Supplies

3-day supply of all medicines, at a minimum

Medical supplies like syringes, a walking cane or hearing aids with extra batteries

Personal Care Items


Toothbrush and toothpaste

Baby wipes

Contact lenses or glasses

Safety Supplies

First aid kit

Emergency blanket

Multipurpose tool (that can act as a knife, file, pliers and screwdriver)




Radio (battery-powered, solar or hand-crank) for updates on the situation

Cell phone with chargers

Extra batteries


Copies of important documents such as insurance cards and immunization records

Paperwork about any serious or on-going medical condition

Your completed family emergency plan, complete with family and emergency contact information.

You Should Also Keep

Extra cash

Maps of the area

Extra set of car keys and house keys

Taking Care of Others

You may need additional supplies to make sure the whole family is ready.

For Children

Baby supplies like bottles, formula, baby food and diapers

Games and activities for children

For Pets

Food and Water:

A 3-day supply of food and water for each pet. A cat or a dog will generally need 1 gallon for three days.

Bowls or bottles

Manual can opener

Cleaning Supplies:

Depending on the pet, you may need a litter box, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and household bleach

Health and Safety:

Medicines and medical records stored in a waterproof container

First aid kit with a pet first aid book

Transport supplies:

A sturdy leash, harness and carrier to transport pets safely. A carrier should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for several hours.

Comfort Items:

Pet toys and the pet’s bed, if you can easily bring it, to reduce stress


Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them, and to prove that they are your pets, in case you become separated from them

Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care

Other Things to Keep in Mind


Every family is unique. You may have emergency needs not included in this list. Also, remember to update your kit according to changing needs of your family.

Be Sure it’s Ready to Use

In a disaster situation, you may need to get your emergency supply kit quickly, whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating.

Once you have gathered your supplies, pack the items in easy-to-carry containers.

Clearly label the containers and store them where you can reach them easily.

Remember that certain items, like medications and paper documents, need to be kept in waterproof containers.

Keep it Fresh

Check the expiration dates on food, water, medicine and batteries at least two times per year. It’s extremely important that all items in your kit are functional at the time of an emergency.

Involve Children

Families can make emergencies less stressful by preparing in advance and working together as a team.

Ask your kids to think of items that they would like to include in an emergency supply kit, such as books, games and pre-packaged foods.

Your kids can mark the dates on a calendar for checking emergency supplies. Tell them to remind you when it’s time to check the supplies.

Include kids in planning and creating disaster kits for family pets.

Know Your House

Find out where your gas, electric and water shut-off locations are, and how to turn them off.

Prepare For Everywhere

Emergencies can happen anywhere. Remember to prepare supplies for home, work, and vehicles.