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Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit
After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives? Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.
To prepare your kit
Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more. Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation)* Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. *Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:
Non-prescription drugs:
Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.


There are six basics you should stock in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container--suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*). Possible containers include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.

Tools and Supplies


Clothing and Bedding
* Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
Special Items
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
For Baby*
For Adults*
Entertainment - games and books.
Important Family Documents
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.

Suggestions and Reminders

Create a Family Disaster Plan

To get started...
Contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and your local American Red Cross chapter. Find out which disasters are most likely to happen in your community. Ask how you would be warned. Find out how to prepare for each.
Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster. Pick two meeting places: 1) a location a safe distance from your home in case of fire. 2) a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call.
Complete these steps
Meet with your neighbors
Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your neighbors' skills (medical, technical). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.
Remember to practice and maintain your plan
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Family Protection Program and the American Red Cross Disaster Education Program are nationwide efforts to help people prepare for disasters of all types. For more information, please contact your local or State Office of Emergency Management, and your local American Red Cross chapter. Ask for "Your Family Disaster Plan" and the "Emergency Preparedness Checklist." Or write to:

P.O. Box 70274
Washington, D.C. 20024
FEMA L- 189
ARC 4463