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From Zero to Ready – A Twelve-Week Plan for Creating Your Own Emergency Supply Kit

readiness checklistBuilding Your Emergency Supply Kit Week-by-Week

So, maybe you’ve decided that you want to take some steps to be better prepared in the event of an emergency, but might be overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. By following this three-month plan, you’ll break the task of creating a killer emergency supply kit into bite-sized chunks that are both doable and won’t break your budget.

Each week of the plan has recommended things to buy and recommended things to do. Work your way down this list and share it with a family member or friend.

Week 1

To Buy

  • 1 gallon water per person 1 x ___ = ____
  • 1 small jar peanut butter 1 x ___ = ____
  • 1 large can juice 1 x ___ = ____
  • 1 can protein (e.g. meat or beans) 1 x ___ = ____
  • Hand can opener
  • 1 permanent marker
  • 2 lighters

To Do

  • Make a family emergency plan.
  • Date each food item you purchase.

Week 2

To Buy

  • Hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and crowbar
  • Rope, duct tape, plumber’s tape, cords
  • 2 crank or battery-powered flashlights
  • 12 cans of Sterno or other cooking fuel

To Do

  • Check house for hazards; secure loose and heavy objects (e.g. TV, shelves) or anything that may tip over during an earthquake.
  • Locate gas and water shutoffs and your electrical panel. Make sure you know how to shut off all utilities, attach any necessary tools.

Week 3

To Buy

  • 1 gallon water per person 1 x ___ = ____
  • 1 can fruit 1 x ___ = ____
  • 2 cans protein (e.g. meat or beans) 2 x ___ = ____
  • Personal hygiene products

To Do

  • Establish an out-of-state friend or family member to contact during an emergency.

Week 4

To Buy

  • 1 gallon water per person 1 x ___ = ____
  • 2 cans fruit and 2 cans vegetables 2 x ___ = ____ and 2 x ___ = ____
  • 2 cans protein (e.g. meat or beans) 2 x ___ = ____
  • 24 rolls of toilet paper
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and / or denture care
  • Any special foods (diabetic, etc.) _____________________

To Do

  • Film or photograph the contents of your home for insurance purposes. Send the film to a family member or friend out of town.

Week 5

To Buy

  • Aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Bandages, gauze, and first aid tape
  • Hand and dish soap, hand sanitizer, etc.

To Do

  • Check with your child’s school about their emergency and disaster plans.

Week 6

To Buy

  • 1 gallon water per person 1 x ___ = ____
  • 2 cans ready-to-eat soup 2 x ___ = ____
  • 1 can fruit and 2 cans vegetables 1 x ___ = ____ and 2 x ___ = ____

To Do

  • Have a home fire drill
  • Take family pictures to put in emergency kit

Week 7

To Buy

  • Scissors, tweezers, sewing kit
  • Thermometer
  • Medical device batteries (e.g hearing aids, etc.)
  • Additional supply of medications (1-3 month)

To Do

  • Put shoes and a flashlight under your bed so they are on-hand during an emergency

Week 8

To Buy

  • Water purification (e.g., tablets, filters, bleach)
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Waterproof container for vital documents
  • Portable radio with batteries

To Do

  • As applicable, store a spare set of glasses or contacts and saline/disinfectant/storage solution; make a copy of any prescriptions.

Week 9

To Buy

  • 1 large can juice 1 x ___ = ____
  • 2 boxes of energy bars/snacks 2 x ___ = ____
  • Plastic food bags and aluminum foil
  • 3 rolls paper towels
  • Paper plates, cups and utensils

To Do

  • Back-up/copy important computer files, photographs, documents, etc. Send a copy to a family member or friend out-of-state.

Week 10

To Buy

  • Diarrhea medicine, allergy medications
  • Vitamins
  • Latex gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol

To Do

  • Speak to neighbors to find out who may need help during an emergency, such as the elderly or disabled. Discuss who can help your children if an emergency occurs when you are not home (if applicable)
  • Include extra clothes in your supply kit

Week 11

To Buy

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Pliers and work gloves
  • Extra batteries for flashlight and radio
  • Extra nails and screws
  • Emergency blankets, rain protection

To Do

  • Find out about your workplace’s emergency preparedness planning
  • Include cash in the kit as you are able

Week 12

To Buy

  • Dry cereal and crackers 2 x ___ = ____
  • Quick snacks (e.g. raisins, etc.) 2 x ___ = ____
  • Assorted plastic storage containers with lids
  • Instant coffee, tea, drinks, etc. 5 x ___ = ____

To Do

  • Have an earthquake or severe weather drill at home

Get a printable PDF version of this checklist

Special considerations

Emergency Supply KitIf you have pets, you’ll want to add food, water and supplies for them just as you would for any other family member. If you have children, having a special cache of games or toys that they don’t normally have access to will help alleviate the boredom and ease the natural fear they’ll have. If you have infants, be sure to stock up on diapers, bottles, medicines and other necessary supplies.

A good rule-of-thumb on rotation for food, water and medicines is six months. Write the date purchased on all perishable items and replenish as you use them. If you make a point to buy the foods that you and your family enjoy, it will be an easier task to complete the rotations on schedule and minimize waste.

 

Sources: http://emc.uoregon.edu/

http://emergency.cdc.gov/

 

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Written by Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

I used to work on Wall Street, but prefer the wide open spaces and freedom that the West provides. My favorite places are anywhere on the Pacific Crest Trail and the top of the next mountain in sight. I am an avid backpacker and rock climber and am into self-reliance. When I'm not on the trail, I'm writing about my experiences on-line.

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