Disaster Supply Kit

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.

For more information about disaster preparedness for your family and community, click on the following link: http://www.fema.gov

This information was adapted from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Community and Family Preparedness Programs

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere.  When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond.  A highway spill of hazardous material could mean instant evacuation.  A bioterrorist event might mean you would have to shelter your family in your home for several days.  An earthquake, flood, tornado or any other disaster could cut off basic services--gas, water, electricity and telephones--for days.

After a disaster, City of Emeryville 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?

To prepare your kit, review the checklists in this document and gather the supplies that are listed.  You may need them if your family is confined at home.


There are six basics, plus any special items, you should stock in your home: 

First aid supplies
Clothing and bedding
Tools and hardware
Sanitation and hygiene supplies
Special items
Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.  The suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*).  Possible containers include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.

Building a Disaster Supply 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 five-day supply of water for each person in your household.


Store at least a five-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:    

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples--sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods--peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
  • Comfort/stress foods--cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags


First Aid Kit 

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)
  • Sunscreen

Non-prescription drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.

Clothing and Bedding

*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Rain gear*
  • Thermal underwear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Sunglasses

Tools and Hardware

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils*
  • Emergency preparedness manual*
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change*
  • Nonelectric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)

Sanitation and Hygiene Supplies  

  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Essential Items to Keep in Mind

Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

      For Baby

      Powdered milk
      For Adults

      Heart and high blood pressure medication
      Prescription drugs
      Denture needs
      Contact lenses and supplies
      Extra eye glasses
      Important Family Documents (Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container)

      Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
      Passports, social security cards, immunization records
      Bank account numbers
      Credit card account numbers and companies
      Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
      Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)

Don't forget entertainment--games and books!


  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members.  Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car and at work
  • Keep items in air-tight plastic bags.
  • Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
  • Rotate your stored food every six months.
  • Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year.  Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

Emergency Contact Cards

Make sure your kids carry an emergency contact card with them at all times. FEMA at Ready.gov has a Family Emergency Plan Card that you can print out or fill in on your computer. The card contains information about your child, the school, parent/guardian or caregiver, neighborhood meeting place and out of area contacts. Cut it out, fold it and put it in your child’s backpack!


Evacuation Plan Checklist

“Evacuate immediately if told to do so, as delaying could risk your life”

  • Talk with your family about what you would do during, and immediately after a disaster, regardless of where you may be.
  • Practice Drop, Cover and Hold On (as you would during an earthquake, so everyone knows what to do).
  • Make sure everyone knows how to text, as voice messages or calls may not be operational after a large-scale disaster
  • Designate a meeting place where you will all reunite if you are not together during the disaster. Perhaps at a nearby church, school or Community Center.
  • Identify an out-of-area contact, since you may have a better chance of getting a phone call to connect to a telephone number 200 miles away than a local number. This contact person can pass information on to the rest of the family that you are okay. Make sure that your child has this number in their school backpack.
  • Know your children’s school plan and what you need to do to check them out if students are to be dismissed.
  • Complete an Emergency Contact Card for each member of the family
  • Register your cell phone numbers with ACAlert to receive emergency notifications.
  • Make copies of important documents and photos. They can be scanned and stored on a portable hard drive or online storage service. This might include passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, insurance and mortgage papers.
  • Consider getting earthquake insurance and/or look into renter’s insurance
  • Take photos or home movies of your home and possessions and store those in a place other than your home

If You Are Told to PREPARE to Evacuate

  • Listen to your local radio and follow directions of local emergency officials
  • Alert your neighbors to the danger, especially if they are seniors, disabled or children who may be home alone
  • Move your car off the street so that you do not block emergency vehicles
  • Park your car in your driveway with the front facing the street. Leave keys in the ignition. Roll up windows.
  • Get dressed in cotton or wool long pants, long sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Carry gloves, handkerchief or mask to cover your face, goggles, and flashlight.
  • Assemble your irreplaceable possessions (photo albums, original art, computer records, insurance records, etc.). Use your Grab and Go Checklist
  • Prepare to evacuate on foot. Use your garbage cans on wheels to cart items if necessary.
  • Take your pets with you if you can
  • Post a note telling others when you left and where you are going

When You Evacuate

  • If you are driving, get off the road and out of the way when confronted by approaching fire trucks
  • If the roads out of your neighborhood become impassable due to abandoned vehicles or the approaching fire, evacuate on foot or bicycle using pre-determined routes to arrive at a pre-determined family meeting place. This could be a community center, school, or park, or wherever you family has decided to meet after an evacuation. Your decision at the time may be determined by the event and location of the threat.
  • Do not leave your car where it will block the road or hinder firefighters

If a Fire Breaks Out in Your Home

  • Call 911. Call out or account for all family members and pets
  • Test doors for heat using the back of your hand. If you feel any heat, do not open the door, and use an alternate exit.
  • If door is cool, open carefully, checking for smoke or flames.
  • Crawl with your head 12 – 24 inches above the ground to stay under the smoke.
  • Once you are out of a burning building, do not go back inside for any reason.
  • Meet your family in a designated meeting place.

Evacuation Backpack or Go Pack

Your Evacuation Backpack contains those things you want to take with you that will help keep you and your family safe during an evacuation, as well as help speed your recovery from a disaster. Most items in this kit will easily fit into a medium size duffle bag or backpack. You may find many of these items around your house, but in an emergency evacuation you may not have time to gather all of them. Add to the list as you see fit. Original documents such as birth, marriage and death records should be kept in a safe deposit box away from your home.

Assemble a Backpack or Go Bag for each member of your family.

  • A copy of your Grab and Go Checklist also known as the top 10 list of irreplaceable possessions that you will take if you have time to evacuate via a vehicle (note the item and where it is located in your house to save time.
  • A copy of the Evacuation Plan Checklist to guide you during your evacuation.
  • Basic personal hygiene items for all family members (washing, shaving, dental, eye-care, sanitary)
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Flashlight, batter-operated radio, extra batteries and extra cell phone charger
  • Safety goggles, cotton gloves and dust mask for each family member to protect against smoke and heat in case of evacuating during a large fire
  • One change of clothes for each family member (focus on socks and underwear first)
  • Pet leash and/or carrying box and small amount of pet food
  • List of important phone numbers, including your designated out-of-area contact
  • Emergency Contact Cards

Grab & Go Checklist

Things that you will need to take at the last minute.
Your Grab and Go List is a prioritized list of irreplaceable possessions that you will take if you have time to evacuate. Often called the Top 10 in 10, think about what 10 items you would take if you had 10 minutes to evacuate. Ideally, you should note the item and where it is located in your house to save time. You may also want to create a separate list for each family member.

Keep a copy of all lists in your Evacuation Backpack so you can easily locate them during an evacuation. Add to the list as you see fit.

  • Wallet with Driver’s License and checkbook
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Cash in small denominations and change for pay telephones
  • Prescription medicines
  • Eyeglasses and other medical aids
  • Cell phone and chargers (electrical charger, car charger, and solar charger)
  • Computer or computer backup media with cords (i.e., portable hard drive, USB drive, etc.)
  • Emergency Plan contact list with out-of-state contact information
  • Copies of current financial accounts
  • Safe deposit keys
  • Passport
  • Family photos/photos stored on CD
  • Family heirlooms, jewelry, etc.
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