Build a Kit

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Supply List

Disaster Supplies Kit (Basic Level Preparedness)

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days for drinking and sanitation)

  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)​

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

  • Flashlight

  • First aid kit

  • Extra batteries

  • Whistle (to signal for help)

  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)

  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)

  • Manual can opener (for food)

  • Local maps

  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Car Emergency Kit

Plan long trips carefully and listen to the radio or television for up-to-date weather forecasts and road conditions. In bad weather, drive only if absolutely necessary.  In case you are stranded, keep an emergency kit in your car with these automobile extras:

  • Jumper cables

  • Flares or reflective triangle

  • Ice scraper

  • Car cell phone charger

  • Blanket

  • Map

  • Traction pads or cat litter / sand (for better tire traction)

Disaster Supplies Kit (Intermediate Level Preparedness)

Recommended items you consider as you continue to expand your emergency kit.

  • Prescription medications​

Note: Consider the following items based on your household and needs:

  • Several days supply of prescription medicines

  • A list of all medications, dosage and any allergies

  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids and batteries

  • A backup supply of oxygen

  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices (include special instructions for operating your equipment if needed)

  • Copies of insurance and Medicare cards

  • Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt

  • Several days supply of pet medicines and pet medical records​

  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives

  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution

  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream

  • Pet food and extra water for your pet

  • Cash or traveler's checks

  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Matches in a waterproof container

  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils

  • Paper and pencil

  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Disaster Supplies Kit (Advanced Level Preparedness)

 

Car Emergency Kit 

The following items should be considered to add to your basic emergency car kit:

  • Water

  • Snack item (protein bar, jerky, et cetera)

  • First aid kit

  • Folding shovel

  • Extra windshield washer fluid

  • Note pad

  • Marker

  • Duct tape

  • Rain poncho/jacket

  • Gloves

  • Socks

72-Hour Bug Out Bag

Typically, the bug out bag (BOB) is a self-contained kit designed to get you through at least 72 hours.  The thought of having to evacuate your home due to a sudden and imminent threat is not unrealistic. The reality is that sudden and uncontrollable events of nature and man do happen.  Consider:

  • Water

  • 3 days' food

  • Flashlight

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA capable if possible)

  • Extra batteries / phone recharger with cords, cables, and plugs

  • First aid kit

  • Medications (7-day supply)

  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address (utility bill), deed/lease to home, passport(s), birth certificates, insurance policies and other documents)

  • Family and emergency contact information

  • Extra cash

  • Emergency blanket

  • Local maps

Preparedness Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures (TTP)

WATER

Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut off or compromised through contamination. Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.  Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation. A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.​

Note:  Take the following into account:

  • Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.

  • A medical emergency might require additional water.

  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.

 

Water Tips:

  • Never ration drinking water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.

  • Drink water that you know is not contaminated first. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been treated. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.

  • Do not drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages instead of drinking water. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body which increases the need for drinking water.

 

Water Storage:

  • Buy commercially bottled water and store it in the sealed original container in a cool, dark place.

Pro-Tip: Buy an extra unit of water that you normally purchase each week until you have your emergency storage amount on-hand.  Then rotate through your normal stock each week to keep your water supply fresh.

Note: If you must prepare your own containers of water, purchase food-grade water storage containers. Before filling with chlorinated water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and sanitize the bottles by cleaning with a solution of one teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water. Water that has not been commercially bottled should be replaced every six months.

Water Treatment:

If you have used all of your stored water and there are no other reliable clean water sources, it may become necessary to treat suspicious water. Treat all water of uncertain quality before using it for drinking, food washing or preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms (germs) that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.

There are many ways to treat water. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom or strain them through coffee filters or layers of clean cloth.

Boiling

Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for one full minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.

Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This also will improve the taste of stored water.

To learn more about other options for treating water, visit the CDC at Making Water Safe in an Emergency.

FOOD

Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

Suggested Emergency Food Supplies

Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:

  • Store at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food.

  • Choose foods your family will eat.

  • Remember any special dietary needs.

 

We suggest the following items when selecting emergency food supplies:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener

  • Protein or fruit bars

  • Dry cereal or granola

  • Peanut butter

  • Dried fruit

  • Canned juices

  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk

  • High-energy foods

  • Food for infants

  • Comfort/stress foods

Pro-Tip: When you are first starting out, just add a few cans each week to your shopping list to build up your food stock of non-perishable food and ensure you are rotating stock to keep it fresh.  Choose foods your family will eat.

Cooking Tip: Alternative cooking sources can be used in times of emergency including candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace. Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.

 

To heat food in a can:

  1. Remove the label.

  2. Thoroughly wash and disinfect the can. (Use a diluted solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water.)

  3. Open the can before heating.

FOOD SAFETY & SANITATION

Without electricity or a cold source, food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and, if these foods are consumed, you can become very sick. Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.” It can be re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals. Remember “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Do:

  • Keep food in covered containers.

  • Keep cooking and eating utensils clean.

  • Throw away any food that has come into contact with contaminated flood water.

  • Throw away any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more.

  • Throw away any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

  • Use ready-to-feed formula. If you must mix infant formula, use bottled water or boiled water as a last resort.

Don't:

  • Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.

  • Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.

  • Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.

Managing Food without Power:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened.

  • Refrigerated or frozen foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for proper food storage.

  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to check temperature.

  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than four hours.

  • Discard any perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.

Food Safety is No Joke

Learn about food safety before disaster strikes!  Foodsafety.gov

Using Dry Ice

Where to get dry ice:  EMA has procured ice from Meijer stores located in the Cincinnati Metro Area in early 2021.  Recommend you check Google and call before you go!

  • Know where you can get dry ice prior to a power outage.

  • Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a 10 cubic foot freezer below freezing for three to four days.

  • If you use dry ice to keep your food cold, make sure it does not come in direct contact with the food.

  • Use care when handling dry ice. Wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.

VEHICLE PREPAREDNESS
 

Prepare Your Car for Emergencies

  • Antifreeze levels

  • Battery and ignition system

  • Brakes

  • Exhaust system

  • Fuel and air filters

  • Heater and defroster

  • Lights and flashing hazard lights

  • Oil

  • Thermostat

  • Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level

Car Safety Tips

  • Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages. A full tank will also keep the fuel line from freezing.

  • Install good winter tires and make sure they have enough tread, or any chains or studs required in your local area.

  • Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.

  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

  • If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock. Stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

  • If it becomes hard to control the car, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.

  • If the emergency could affect the stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.