How To Pack An Emergency Kit

ready-2379042_1920An emergency kit will help you in the event you were unable to evacuate (a sudden storm like or tornado happened) or you didn’t evacuate (we do not recommend staying in place if an evacuation order has been given) and you need vital supplies and rescue while aid crews work to reach you after a natural disaster.  The information provided is aimed at helping you be prepared to be on your own in a post-disaster situation for up to three days. Of course, individual needs may vary, so please, make adjustments where needed. You should keep these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as suitcases or plastic, covered storage containers.

The SCEMD provides a printable checklist that you can download. 

To learn more about disaster preparedness and how to maintain your kit, visit

Build An Emergency Kit

Include at a minimum:

  • Water, two gallons of water per person per day for at least three 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 and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Family emergency contact information
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change

Additional items to consider include:

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. 
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes. 
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Duct tape
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children


  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles or plastic milk jugs. Avoid using containers that will break, such as 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 two gallons of water per person per day (one gallon for drinking, one gallon for food preparation/sanitation)
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household.


  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, little preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
  • 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. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual. Each first aid kit should include:
  • 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 lubricants
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen


  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. 
  • Keep a smaller version of the Family Emergency Kit in the trunk of your car.
  • 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-evaluate your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

Other Things To Consider

Disaster Preparation Insurance Checklist: 

  • Have you updated your home inventory to include photos, appraisals, and receipts of any new purchases and stored copies of it in safe, remote locations? 
  • Have you stored copies of your insurance policy with contact details for your insurance agent and company with your inventory? 
  • Do you know whether your policy includes replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV) for losses? 
  • Have you decided if you need a separate flood insurance policy
  • Have you talked with your agent to make sure you don’t have too much or too little homeowners or renter’s insurance? 

  Insurance Emergency Checklist: 

  • Do you have phone numbers for your insurance agent and company, in case you have to file a claim? 
  • Do you know how to access your home inventory and important papers? 
  • Do you have a personal identification document with a photo to prove your name and address? 
  • Do you know if your policy requires you to file a claim within a certain time frame? 
  • Keep all correspondence and a log of when you speak with your agent or an insurance company representative. 
  • Have you documented the damage with photos or videotape? 
  • Make temporary repairs and save all receipts.

Contact Us

For assistance with insurance-related issues or questions, please call 803-737-6180. Or you can email your question to