Bulding a Personal Preparedness Kit

Basic Principles of Personal Preparedness

  • All of us should be able to survive comfortably on our own for at least 3 days (72 hours) following an incident. Some would argue that this needs to be increased, but truly it depends on the situation for which you are planning. Power outages are almost always going to impact the length we should be self-sustaining (among others). Try to keep this in perspective when building your plan.
  • The time to prepare is before an incident occurs.
  • Participate in open discussion with family members about response planning.

Build a kit

When building a kit, which can be a simple backpack or even progress to more sophisticated packs, there is no standard to follow, as everyone’s kit should reflect their own needs. However, it is critically important to understand that, depending on the emergency, weight and volume of emergency kits becomes a factor. Overstocking it with non-critical items will slow you down and could prevent you from being as mobile as needed or even prevent you from carrying it altogether.

There are plenty of sources for you to reference as you build your kit, such as:

Also, remember to refresh your kit each year to check shelf-life of items (batteries corrode and food expires, etc) and to ensure properly operating equipment.

Basic Categories of Items for an Emergency Kit


  • On average, one gallon of water per day for drinking, cooking, and sanitation
  • 3–7 day supply of water (remember, water is heavy, so advanced planning for this might be needed if you are evacuating or mobile in general)
  • Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers.
  • If bottling your own water, note storage date and replace every 6 months.
  • If purchasing bottled water, follow the expiration date on the bottle.
  • One option is Datrex Water Pouches- Total of 2 Quarts (5 year shelf life, approved by U.S.C.G.)


  • Non-perishable foods
  • 3–7 day supply of food is recommended.
  • Maintain caloric intake.
  • Minimize the use of food that requires preparation.
  • Have a manual can opener.
  • Maintain sanitation by using fresh water for cooking.


  • Use blankets/sleeping bags for warmth.
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight with batteries (and extra batteries)
  • Tent (depending on situation)


  • Change of clothes
  • Comfortable shoes, socks
  • Layers of clothing for comfort (weather dependent)
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Hat (with brim especially in sunlight)

Basic Supplies

  • Personal medications (at least a 3-day supply) and be aware of refrigeration needs
  • Pet supplies and medications (if applicable)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Battery-powered flashlight (Pen Light is also a good addition)
  • Spare batteries
  • Cell / device chargers
  • Pan for cooking
  • Communication/battery-powered radio (or crank radio)
  • First aid kit (see below for more details)
  • Maps (protective covering or waterproof – fishing and tackle stores or outdoor stores are a good place to find these)
  • Knife/utensils
  • Hard Plastic "Pealess" Whistle
  • Wrench or pliers (used also to turn off utilities at your home before you leave)
  • Multi-tool
  • Paper and pen

Personal Hygiene

  • Bathroom tissue
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Soap
  • Hand-washing materials
  • Sunscreen
  • Tooth brush and toothpaste

Additional Key Items

  • Cash and credit cards
  • Personal identification
  • Important documents such as Birth Certificate, property-related docs, insurance info, medical documents/records, financial information (in a waterproof container)
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, and solution
  • Scissors
  • Duct-tape
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Insect repellant
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach (2 uses)

    You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach). Or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 8-16 drops  (medicine dropper) or approximately 1/8 teaspoon of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners. Let this solution stand for 30 minutes, after which there should be a slight bleach odor (if not, add drops until residual odor is achieved). If possible, boiling AND bleach provide the best emergency treatment of water rather than one alone.

  • Medicine dropper
  • Compass
  • Paper towels

Additional first-aid items

  • Anti-microbial Moist towelettes (individually wrapped)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 10 - Adhesive Bandages 3/4" x 3"
  • 1 - Fingertip Bandages Fabric
  • 1 - Knuckle Bandages Fabric
  • 5 - Adhesive Bandages Plastic1” x 3” Plastic
  • 5 - Adhesive Bandages 3/8” x 1.5” Plastic
  • 1 - Adhesive Bandage 2" x 4.5"
  • 2 - Non-Adherent Pad 2" x 3"
  • 1 - Nitrile gloves pr.
  • 1 - Rolled Gauze 2" x 4yds. Wrapped
  • 4 - Sterile Gauze Pads 3"x3"
  • 1 - First Aid Tape 1/2" x 2.5yds.
  • 1 - Tweezers 5"
  • Dusk mask to aid in filtering air (or properly fitted and N 95 mask)