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Packing a Disaster Evacuation Kit

Not as Overwhelming When Taken in Small Bites

By

Updated January 23, 2014

The type of disaster kit you should make depends on your needs. If you're in an area likely to be evacuated, pack your disaster kit in boxes for the road. If you're likely to be stuck at home without water or power, storing a "kit" really just means dedicating a few shelves to disaster supplies. Of course, it's always a good idea to have a plan to pack your supplies quickly and easily into the car for a quick getaway.

It may seem overwhelming to pack an entire disaster evacuation kit at once. The trick is to break the kit into smaller bites. Start with water and food supplies, then move on to other items. Concentrate on each section until you have what you need before moving to the next.

A disaster evacuation kit should be stored at home, packed and ready to go in less than 10 minutes. Tips for packing and maintaining your kit:

  • Keep things small.
  • Store water where it won't freeze, food where it won't get too hot, and everything else wherever you have room -- just be sure you can get to it easily.
  • Pack the entire kit in plastic storage boxes to make them easier to load into the car on short notice. Keep the food in a different container than everything else. Bottled water can be loaded separately.
  • Load everything into the car ahead of time to see how it fits and if you need to make changes.
  • Write down the earliest expiration date for both food and medication. Put it in your calendar and check all food and medication on that date. Replace anything that will expire within six months and start over with the new earliest date.
  • Replace water every year to maintain fresh taste.

Supplies for a Disaster Evacuation Kit

Food and water supplies:
  • 3 gallons of water for each person using the kit
  • 6,000 calories of food per person using the kit (3 days' worth)
  • disposable utensils, plates and bowls (washing wastes water)
  • manual can opener
  • sharp knife
  • small cutting board
  • sugar and spices
  • aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • resealable plastic bags
Light and communication:
  • portable radio or television and extra batteries
  • emergency radios that don't require batteries are better
  • flashlights with extra batteries
  • whistles for each person
  • hand-held, two-way radios and extra batteries or chargers
Health and hygiene:
  • first aid kit including nonprescription medications
  • copies of prescriptions
  • dust masks
  • shampoo
  • deodorant
  • toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • comb and brush
  • lip balm
  • sunscreen
  • contact lenses and glasses
  • toilet paper
  • towelettes
  • soap
  • hand sanitizer
  • liquid detergent
  • feminine supplies
  • plastic garbage bags with ties for personal sanitation use
  • medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid
  • disinfectant
  • household chlorine bleach
Shelter and clothing:
  • complete change of clothing for each person
  • sturdy shoes or boots, no open toes or heels
  • rain gear, hats and gloves
  • thermal underwear
  • sunglasses
  • tent
  • sleeping bag for each person
Miscellaneous items and safety gear:
  • fire extinguisher
  • utility knife
  • games and books to pass the time
    • deck of cards
    • travel games (Scrabble, chess, checkers, Monopoly)
    • crayons and coloring books
    • Sudoku/crossword puzzles
  • pens and paper
  • map with emergency shelters marked and their telephone numbers
  • extra keys
  • copies of driver's licenses, work identification and passports
  • copies of deeds and insurance information
  • copies of vehicle registration and insurance
  • cash and 2 rolls of quarters for vending machines
  • compass
  • shovel
  • waterproof matches or lighter
  • resealable plastic bags of various sizes for all types of non-food uses
Special needs for ill, nursing mothers, elderly and infants:
  • walkers or wheelchairs
  • hearing aid batteries (to keep them fresh, use the batteries in the kit and put new ones in whenever you need to change)
  • special foods
  • denture supplies
  • spare oxygen
  • eyeglasses
  • diapers and wipes
  • baby bottles with extra nipples and inserts (if necessary)
  • breast pump
  • powdered formula
What to grab when you go:
  • prescription medications including inhalers
  • special medical equipment (oxygen tanks, nebulizers)
  • dentures
  • cell phones and chargers
  • identification
  • credit cards
  • favorite dolls and stuffed animals for small children
Related Video
Create a Family Disaster Plan
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