Make a Kit

After a major disaster, relief workers will be on the scene, but it may take time for them to get to you. You should prepare to take care of yourself and your family for up to three days by making emergency kits and a go bag. These kits include food, water, and other supplies. An emergency kit is for an extended stay at home (three days). A go bag is for immediate rapid evacuation of the home and is a scaled-down version of the emergency kit. Keep the emergency kits and go bags stored in cool, dry, and convenient locations in your home and car. Below is a list of recommended items, but you should always personalize your emergency kit for your family’s specific needs.

Basic emergency supply kit

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – non-perishable, three-day supply, and can opener if kit contains canned food
  • First aid kit and instructions
  • Copy of important documents in waterproof portable container or sealed Ziploc bags
  • Recent photos of your children in waterproof portable container or sealed Ziploc bags
  • Personal hygiene items – toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, and soap
  • Special-needs items for children – medications, toys, infant formula, and diapers
  • Special-needs items for seniors or people with disabilities – medications, glasses, hearing aids and batteries, dentures and cleaner, and personal care items
  • Complete change of clothing for each person – weather and season appropriate, such as a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, underwear, socks, sturdy shoes, and rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Extra batteries for radio, flashlight, etc. – periodically check the expiration dates of your batteries and replace as necessary
  • Pen, pencil, and paper in waterproof bag
  • Dust masks
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Cash – ATM and credit card machines may be out of service in event of power outages
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Cell phone power bank or car charger
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

Water and food

You should have one gallon of water per person per day. Replace the emergency kit water with fresh water every six months.

Ideal foods are shelf-stable, low in salt, and do not require cooking. Check the expiration dates on your nonperishable foods and replace as necessary.

Consider the season and emergency

If there is a summer storm and power is lost, you could be exposed to high heat and humidity. Consider keeping several frozen gel ice packs in your freezer in case you need to preserve food from your refrigerator if the power goes out for an extended period of time. Also consider including paper, collapsible, or battery-powered fans in your kit.

If there is a winter storm and power is lost, you could be without heat for an extended period of time. Consider including extra blankets, sleeping bags, coats, gloves, and heavy socks. Never use a gas oven, stove, charcoal, or portable gas camp stove for heat inside your home. Keep a window cracked to prevent dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. Never run your generator indoors without proper and ample ventilation.

If there is a flood, consider adding fishing waders, life vests, and safety rope to your emergency kit.

Keep your vehicle gas tank at least half full at all times in case you need to evacuate. Half a tank can usually get you out of the area, and you may not be able to get gas as stations rely on electricity to power the pumps.

First aid kit

  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sterile dressings and gauze
  • Ointments – antibiotic, burn, anti-itch
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution
  • Scissors
  • Over-the-counter medicines – pain relievers, allergy relievers, anti-diarrheal medication, laxatives
  • Prescription medications – insulin, heart medicine, asthma inhaler or other breathing treatment
  • Prescribed medical supplies – glucose monitoring equipment, blood pressure monitors

Pet supply kit

The Delaware Office of Animal Welfare suggests the following items to include in an emergency kit for your pets:

  • Additional water and food for your pets
  • Collar with ID tag and leash or harness
  • Medications and first-aid kit and instructions
  • Important documents in a plastic bag, including: medical and vaccination records; license and microchip numbers; and any special instructions for your pet
  • Current photos of you with your pet  in waterproof portable container or sealed Ziploc bags
  • Transport crate or carrier
  • Bedding and toys
  • Sanitation supplies, such as waste bags, litter and box, paper towels, and cleaner
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties, as well as pet sanitation supplies (waste bags, litter and box, paper towels, cleaner)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags and pet bedding
  • Special-needs items
  • Vet records (including license, vaccination, and microchip)
  • Pet containment (crate or carrier) and restraint (collar with ID tag, leash, and harness)