Emergency Preparedness: 6 Things Every Family Needs in Case of a Disaster

What would you do if a massive earthquake hit your city, knocking out the power, destroying water lines, and damaging most buildings? Would you have what you need to survive? Here are 6 things to get right now so you and your family can survive any kind of disaster.

  1. Drinking Water

    If a disaster were to knock out or pollute our running water, people with their own drinking water would have the best chance of surviving.

    According to the CDC, sealed water bottles are the safest and most reliable way to store water for an emergency. You can also store water in barrels or water storage containers, both of which can be found at either camping stores or emergency preparedness outlets. Make sure the storage container is sterilized before filling it with water. Also be sure that the water you put in the container is clean.

    In addition to storing drinking water, also consider water filtration options. Camping stores are a great resource to help you find hand pumps or purification tablets.

  2. A 72-hour Kit

    An emergency kit will mean everything to you during a disaster. It will keep you healthy, safe, and fed until more help can get to you. Here are the items to put in your kit:

    Food and Water

    • protein and/or granola bars
    • trail mix and/or dried fruit
    • crackers and/or cereal
    • canned foods such as tuna, beans, turkey, beef, etc.
    • candy and gum
    • juice boxes/canned juice


    • one change of clothing
    • a jacket
    • undergarments
    • a poncho
    • emergency blanket

    Fuel, Light, and Equipment

    • can opener
    • dishes and utensils (compact camping kits work well)
    • radio
    • batteries
    • flashlight
    • flare
    • candles
    • lighter
    • water-proof matches
    • pen and paper
    • pocket knife
    • rope
    • duct tape
    • small hand shovel

    Personal Supplies

    • first aid kit
    • toiletries
    • hand sanitizer/soap and shampoo
    • medication (prescription and non-prescription)


    • birth certificate
    • marriage certificate
    • will
    • passport
    • other legal documents
    • important contact numbers
    • vaccination and immunization papers
    • insurance policies
    • credit cards

    Update your 72-hour kit every six months to make sure the food and medication are fresh, and the clothes fit. If you have children, it might be wise to add some small toys or games. Each family member should have their own kit.

  3. A Fire Extinguisher

    A fire extinguisher is good to have in a disaster in case the power lines get damaged and pose electrical hazards. They are also important to have in the home to keep an emergency like a kitchen fire from turning into a disaster.

  4. Small Cash

    Having cash in an emergency can help you obtain help or supplies that you or your family members may need. You don’t want to have your cash tied up in large bills, however, or people will be able to take advantage of your desperation.

    For example, if you need alcohol or disinfectant to clean a wound, but you only have a $50 bill, an individual with the disinfectant may see your desperation and charge you all $50 for it. If you have $1 bills to offer, you can avoid being taken advantage of.

  5. A Meeting Place

    Making a plan ahead of time will help you and your family members stay calm in a disaster and know exactly what to do.

    Designate a place your family members will congregate to after a fire, earthquake, or any other event. Phone lines will likely be tied up in the panic of a disaster, so having a meeting spot will help you keep track of all your family members and make sure everyone is OK.

    Hold a family meeting to go through different disaster scenarios and decide what to do. Type up your disaster preparedness plans and distribute them to each family member. Go through the plans regularly so even the youngest child will know exactly how to handle any emergency situation.

  6. Food Storage

    It’s wise to have at least 3 months-worth of food storage. You don’t have to go out and buy 3 months of non-perishable groceries right now. Instead, slowly build up your supply over time. One way to manage a food storage is to stock up on foods you regularly eat—cans of beans, fruit, and soup; noodles; sugar, flour, and rice; and so on.

    Then constantly rotate the food out of storage as you eat through it. When you go to the store, put the new food in storage and eat the food it is replacing. That way the food will always be fresh and ready for a disaster situation.

    Keep your food storage safe from pests with pest control products like Solutions Self Chem as well as with air-tight containers.

Disasters of any form can be terrifying and life changing. Increase your chance of survival and know exactly how to respond by preparing ahead of time. These six things will help your family handle any situation.

Meghan is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons.

One thought on “Emergency Preparedness: 6 Things Every Family Needs in Case of a Disaster

  • September 26, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I would think water would be a hige thing especially forr any llength of time. In colder climates where there is snow not so much but in arid climates it would be a big one.


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