What’s In Your Emergency Kit?

Thinking about an emergency is tough. We never know what might happen, and that can be frightening.

Hopefully, you’ll never face an urgent or life-threatening situation, but spending a few minutes getting prepared could make all the difference in keeping you and your loved ones safe if you ever do.

Dr. Joel Levis, chief of the Emergency Department at Kaiser Santa Clara Medical Center, provided us with some tips on what you should include in your at-home emergency kit. Take a look:

The basics

At a minimum, you should always have these items on-hand. Make sure to store them in something that’s easy to carry with you, like a backpack or a bin you can put in your vehicle.

Nutrition items:

  • Bottled water: one gallon per person per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, high protein/high calorie items like canned goods and energy bars (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home).
  • Can opener 

Hygiene items:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Washcloth and soap
  • Baby wipes or baby powder (these are practical to include for hygiene purposes even if you don’t have a baby in your home)
  • Comb

Safety items:

Personal items:

  • Copies of personal documents, including a medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies
  • Electronics chargers for your cell phone and laptop
  • Family and emergency contact information. Download a contact card template here.
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of your area

Additional items to consider based on your family members

As you prepare, be sure to consider the needs of each of your family members (pets, too!).

  • Medical supplies like hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, etc.
  • Baby supplies, like bottles, formula, baby food, diapers
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies: collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys

Other supplies to consider

Consider including these items according to the types of disasters common to your area.

  • Whistle
  • Surgical masks or bandanas to help with breathing
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting or tarps
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

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