You are here: Home > Complete Preparedness Library > First Aid And Medical Basics > Building a Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit

Building a Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own. This boils down to supplying your own water, food and other necessities while waiting for help to arrive. Relief workers and local officials will make their way to the scene immediately after a disaster, but it’s impossible for them to reach every victim right away. Furthermore, basic services, such as gas, electricity, sewage treatment, water and telephone service can be cut off for days, weeks or longer. As such, you should have everything you need for at least three days.

Your emergency preparedness kit should be customized based on your needs, but government agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Ready America, have some recommendations for building your starter emergency preparedness kit. The essentials are listed below, some of which will be explored in more detail on pages throughout this site.

  • Food –- You should have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person in your household.
  • Water -- Stock up about one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days. This is water for drinking and sanitation.
  • NOAA Weather Radio -– These are different from normal AM/FM radios. Get one with a tone alert so you can get broadcasts and notices from the National Weather Service. Look for a NOAA Weather Radio that is battery powered or powered by a hand crank.
  • Flashlight -- Get an ultra-efficient LED flashlight with plenty of spare batteries.
  • First Aid Kit -– See our page on First Aid kits for more details.
  • Emergency Whistle -– This will help you gain the attention of relief workers passing by, especially if you do not have the strength to shout loudly.
  • Dust mask -– Look for a tight fitting mask that covers your entire mouth and nose.
  • Personal sanitation items -– Moist towelettes, garbage bags and twist ties are a must.
  • Tools for shutting off utilities -– You may need pliers or a pipe wrench in order to activate your emergency shutoff valve for your house’s water main. Find out what you need ahead of time.
  • Can opener -– For canned foods.
  • Local maps -- Don’t rely on your smartphone or GPS—while cellular networks and satellites rarely go down in an emergency, you can’t rely on your battery staying strong for days.
  • Cell phone car charger or solar adapter -– While your power will likely be out, you can top off your battery in the car or by using a solar charger.

Go through this list and make sure you have all of these items. For more information, read through some of our additional pages on emergency preparedness.