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Fifth Edition

A resource directory for emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and accessible communications

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Building an Emergency Kit

In today's unpredictable world, being prepared for emergencies is crucial for the safety and well-being of individuals and households. Whether it's a natural disaster, power outage, or unforeseen event, having an effective emergency kit can make a significant difference in your ability to cope and stay safe. This article aims to guide you in building an emergency kit that includes essential supplies for survival, tools and equipment for safety and practicality, and additional considerations for unique situations. By being prepared and having the right supplies on hand, you can face any crisis situation with confidence.

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Essential Supplies for Survival

A. Water and food

When building your emergency kit, one of the first priorities is ensuring an adequate supply of water and non-perishable food items. Consider storing at least one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days. Include water purification methods, such as water purification tablets or a portable water filter, in case your water supply becomes compromised. Choose non-perishable food items that require minimal preparation and have a long shelf life. Don't forget to consider dietary considerations and any specific needs of family members, such as infants or individuals with dietary restrictions.

B. First aid and medical supplies

A well-stocked first aid kit is essential in any emergency kit. Include basic supplies such as adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and medical gloves. Additionally, consider any specific medical conditions or prescription medications that household members may require and include them in your kit. Remember to regularly check expiration dates and replace any expired items.

C. Communication and lighting

During emergencies, staying informed and maintaining communication is vital. Include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio in your emergency kit to receive important news and updates. Flashlights with extra batteries should also be readily available. Consider including glow sticks or emergency candles as alternative lighting options.

Tools and Equipment for Safety and Practicality

A. Multi-purpose tools

A multi-purpose tool, such as a Swiss Army knife or a multi-tool, is invaluable in emergency situations. These tools often include various functionalities like blades, screwdrivers, can openers, and more. They can assist in tasks such as opening cans, cutting ropes, or repairing essential items.

B. Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps ensure your safety during emergencies. Include items such as N95 masks, gloves, safety goggles, and dust masks in your emergency kit. These items provide protection against airborne particles, contaminants, and potential hazards.

C. Sanitation and hygiene items

Maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene is crucial for health and well-being during emergencies. Include items like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, and personal hygiene products in your emergency kit. Proper hygiene practices help prevent the spread of diseases and maintain a clean and safe environment.

Additional Considerations for Unique Situations

Depending on your location and specific circumstances, there may be additional considerations for your emergency kit. For example:

- Shelter and warmth: Include emergency blankets, sleeping bags, and tarps for temporary shelter and insulation.

- Special needs and considerations: Take into account the needs of infants, elderly individuals, and pets. Include essential supplies like baby formula, diapers, pet food, and any necessary medications.

- Important documents and cash: Keep copies of identification documents, insurance policies, and important contact information in a waterproof container. It's also wise to have some emergency cash on hand, as ATMs and card payment systems may be unavailable during certain emergencies.


Building an emergency kit is an essential step in being prepared for any crisis situation. By ensuring you have essential supplies for survival, tools and equipment for safety and practicality, and considering additional factors for unique situations, you can significantly increase your ability to weather emergencies with confidence. Remember to regularly check and update your emergency kit, replacing expired items and adjusting supplies based on changing circumstances.

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