Home Preparedness

Household Preparedness Kits

Severe weather and homeland security events could require citizens to be prepared. In many cases, emergency services will be overloaded in an emergency situation and you will need to have a few basic items to ensure your comfort and in some cases, your survival.

The household preparedness kit should be large enough to contain basic items your family will need to exist for three or four days, yet small enough for you to carry when traveling or during an evacuation. The kit should be your "go bag" that can be placed in your vehicle or carried easily should you have to walk to a shelter or emergency care area. Consider using cloth backpack (s) or tote bags for the kit as they are easily stored and transported.

For more information on emergency preparedness please visit National Fire Protection Association- Emergency Preparedness

The following list is not intended to meet the needs of every family due to special needs or preferences, however, these items should be considered.

  • Food and water items
  • Bottled drinking water (enough for three or four days)
  • Prepackaged food items (crackers, peanut butter, breakfast bars, dry fruit, etc.)
  • Hard candy such as peppermint
  • Special food items for babies or toddler

Medical Items

  • Up to five days of maintenance medications - Note: some medications need special handling (cold for example) so plan for that emergency
  • Antacid tablets
  • Over the counter pain medication
  • First aid kit or items (bandages, first aid cream, alcohol, band-aids, scissors)

Hygiene Items

  • Kitchen size trash bags
  • Toilet tissue
  • Packaged hand or baby wipes
  • Stick deodorant
  • Toothpaste and brushes


  • A battery-powered radio
  • A flashlight(s) (do not use candles or open flame devices)
  • Lightsticks (signal devices that when broken create light)
  • Extra batteries for lights and radios

Other considerations

  • Small survival blankets
  • Toys for children (small & quiet toys in case you are sheltered with other families)
  • Duct tape - to make temporary repairs or to seal doors and windows

It is strongly recommended that food, batteries, and medications are cycled out of the kits every few months so items will be current when needed.

Evacuating With Your Pets

Family pets should never be left behind in an evacuation. Decide now where you and your family will stay if local officials call for an evacuation. Many hotels or shelters may not allow pets. Prepare an emergency kit for each pet in a waterproof, easy-to-carry container. Families evacuating in their own vehicles can use this checklist:

  • A secure pet carrier, cage or crate, plus leash and collar or harness for each pet
  • Muzzle (Anxiety and stress can cause any pet to bite. A muzzle serves to protect both the pet and other people.)
  • An up-to-date identification tag on your pet's collar and proof of ownership, such as a picture of you with your pet
  • Veterinary records and medications, such as flea or heartworm treatment, along with emergency contact information
  • One week's worth of food and water for each pet, including dishes, spoon, and a can opener
  • Written feeding and medication instructions, including what NOT to feed your pet
  • Clean-up supplies: paper towels, newspaper, kitty litter with pan and scoop for cats, sealable bags for disposing of waste, wet and dry wipes, and hand sanitizers
  • Pet toys, bedding, and treats

For more information on care for household pets and livestock during a disaster, visit FEMA: Helping Pets or https://betterpet.com/pet-disaster-preparedness/