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How to Make a Disaster Plan and Disaster Kit

You never know when a natural disaster will hit. With the possibilities of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and flooding, there are many options for what disaster you and your family might face. So it’s best to be prepared. Here is an easy guide for how to prepare your family for a sudden disaster.

Step 1: Have a Plan

If you were only given 30 minutes to evacuate, where would you go? What would you grab? Would you have access to a car? Would you have the gas you need to leave the area? Where would you go? What would you do with your pets? If you don’t have an answer to all of those questions, now is a great time to make your plans. Grab a piece of paper and write down your evacuation route, what items you need to bring with you, and what would change depending on the type of disaster. We suggest using Red Cross’s Plan templates to help you write everything down. This one is in English and this one in Spanish.

Make a final copy of your plan and hang it someplace easy to access, like on the inside of your closet, where you can access it easily if you need it.

If you need some ideas for what to include in your emergency plan, check out Habitat for Humanity’s Family Evacuation Plan.

Step 2: Create a Disaster Kit

Disaster kits are go-bags that has all the essentials. They give you the ability to evacuate within a few minutes if necessary. Think of it like you’re packing for a camping trip. You’ll want to bring everything you need to survive if you had to live in the wild for a few days. Habitat for Humanity suggests packing the following items: 

  • Water — one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.

  • Food — at least a three-day supply of nonperishable items.

  • Blankets/sleeping bags/pillows/towels.

  • Closed-toe, sturdy shoes.

  • Jacket or coat.

  • NOAA weather radio or other battery-powered radio.

  • Flashlight.

  • Extra batteries.

  • Important documents — copies of insurance policies, identification, bank account records and emergency medical information — stored in a waterproof and portable container.

  • Prescription medication.

  • Extra cash.

  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air.

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place.

  • Garbage bags.

  • Whistle.

  • Basic tools such as a wrench, pliers and screwdriver.

  • Manual can opener.

  • Local maps.

  • Cell phone and charger.

  • Personal hygiene items and feminine supplies.

  • First aid kit.

  • Two pairs of latex or other sterile gloves.

  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.

  • Soap and antibiotic towelettes.

  • Antibiotic and burn ointments.

  • Bandages in a variety of sizes.

  • Eye wash solution.

  • Thermometer.

  • Aspirin or other pain reliever.

  • Anti-diarrhea medication.

  • Antacid.

  • Laxative.

  • Scissors and tweezers.

  • Prescription medications and medical supplies.

Optional items

  • Paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.

  • Extra clothes that can be washed by hand and hang dry.

  • Matches in a waterproof container.

  • Fire extinguisher.

  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine droppers.

  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

  • Baby supplies — bottles, formula and diapers.

  • Medical supplies — oxygen, catheters, wheelchairs, hearing aid batteries, etc.

  • Two-way radios.

  • Rain gear.

Step 3: Hold a Family Meeting

An emergency plan works best when everyone knows what the plan is and where to find the necessary information and supplies. Sit down with you family and walk through your plan and make sure everyone knows where your disaster kit(s) are.

Natural disasters are incredibly stressful events, but having a plan and a disaster kit will help mediate any anxiety you may have and help your family survive in a bad situation.

For more resources, check out

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