Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit

What You Should Know About:
Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit

If disaster strikes, you are on your own until help arrives. Create your emergency preparedness kit today - before disaster strikes

What you should know:

  1. There were 980 world-wide natural catastrophes in 2020, totaling $210 billion in insured losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
  2. Pets are family, too. Be sure to include them in your disaster preparedness planning.
  3. A 2015 FEMA survey found that the majority of American adults have not practiced what to do during a disaster, even though 80 percent of Americans live in counties that have a history of weather-related disasters.

To better respond to – and survive – a disaster, it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan that includes a comprehensive disaster survival kit. This kit could be your family’s lifeline if emergency services cannot immediately reach you.

A basic disaster survival kit should include:

  • A three-day supply of drinking water (one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation).
  • Food you don't have to refrigerate or cook.
  • First aid supplies.
  • A short-wave weather radio or battery-powered or hand crank radio.
  • Extra batteries.
  • A flashlight.
  • Clothing, blankets and medicine.
  • Some basic tools, like a wrench or pliers, to turn off utilities.
  • Copies of your insurance policies and other financial documents.
  • Contact information for local emergency agencies and hospitals.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape in case you need to make a shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Local maps.
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

If you have pets, you’ll want to make an emergency kit for them as well. Here’s a basic list of items to include:

  • At least a three-day supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Your pet’s medicines and medical records.
  • Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • A first aid kit for your pet that includes cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • A collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • A sturdy and safe crate or pet carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Kitty litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  • A picture of you and your pet together in case you become separated to help you document ownership.
  • Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding, which can help reduce stress for your pet.

Printable versions of what to include in your emergency supply lists is available at


Washington Emergency Management Division
Oregon Office of Emergency Management
Idaho Office of Emergency Management