What to Keep at Home to Prepare For Natural Disasters

You never know when disaster may strike, so it's smart to prepare for anything nature throws your way. Whether it be preparing for an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or snowstorm, below are basic suggestions for what to keep in your disaster supply kit:

  • Water. It's recommended to have one gallon of water per day per person or pet. You should keep at least three gallons each per person or pet at home.
  • Food. You should have at least three day's worth of food. Concentrate on non-perishable food that doesn't require refrigeration or much prep and water. Consider cereal, ready-to-eat canned fruits, veggies, juice, and meat, energy-rich snacks like trail mix and granola bars. Remember to have vitamins and special supplies around for anyone with special needs, such as pets, babies, and the elderly.
  • Medication. Have some extra medication on hand for times when disaster strikes and you can't leave your home to refill your prescription. Remember to also store over-the-counter medication like painkillers, antihistamine, calamine lotion, alka seltzer, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, sterile eyewash, and contact lens (if you use them).
  • First aid kit. It should have latex gloves, gauze pads, thermometer, sterile bandages, band-aids, petroleum jelly, salve for burns, antibiotic ointment, adhesive tape, towelettes and hand sanitizers, sunscreen, and instant cold packs.
  • Tools and supplies. This includes items such as candles, matches in a waterproof container, scissors, tweezers, a sewing kit, flashlight, extra batteries, small fire extinguisher, a manual can opener, a knife, a hand-crank or battery-operated radio, with batteries, and a wrench to turn off gas and water. Be sure to also have a map of the area in case you need to look for a shelter.
  • Hygiene products. Toilet paper, feminine products, and toiletries.
  • Kitchen supplies. Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Cleaning products. Garbage bags, dish soap, bleach, disinfectant.
  • Clothing. Rain gear, at least one outfit, work boots or durable sneakers, and thermal underwear.
  • Important documents and items. Cash, driver's license, passport, social security card, family records, bank account numbers, and list of important and emergency phone numbers. Make sure you have a copy of your will, insurance policies, and other contracts and deeds.
  • Miscellaneous items. Blankets, sleeping bags, paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils.