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How to Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit

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emergency preparedness kit september collage

We’ve always had haphazard plans on where to meet in the case of an emergency, who our contacts are, where we store our flashlights and other general things like that.  But nothing was ever centralized or gone over in any detail.  We’re fortunate that we live in an area of the country where we don’t experience earthquakes, tornadoes or other severe weather.  The last few falls, however, we seem to be having more severe weather (mostly in the form of flash floods), and it’s seemed a bit more urgent to develop an Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Since September is National Preparedness Month, we decided this was a perfect opportunity for us to work together as a family and start assembling our kit!  There are lots of resources online for how to built your emergency kit and how to put together an emergency plan and contact list.  I used a combination of those government resources, other random sites and made up our kit based on our family’s needs and the area of the country we live in.

Starting your kit can be a bit overwhelming and expensive!  I suggest buying one or two items a week, so by the end of a year, your kit is complete and it was never a large strain financially.   I’m going to share some of the items we have already started purchasing for our Emergency Preparedness Kit, but we are still in the process of collecting as well, so not everything on our list has made it to our picture yet!  Also, please be aware that some of these items will be different/unnecessary depending on where you live.  Most of our items are fairly basic, though, and enough to keep our family of 4 safe, calm and protected during a storm.

*This is not a food storage list. This is an Emergency Preparedness Kit list.
emergency preparedness september kit

How to Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit:

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  1. Bottled water
  2. Flashlights
  3. Extra batteries
  4. Battery-powered LED lantern
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Manual Can Opener
  7. Canned Food
  8. Emergency blankets 
  9. Pain Reliever
  10. Toilet Paper
  11. Paper Towels
  12. Toothpaste
  13. Toothbrush
  14. Utensils
  15. Matches (preferably waterproof)
  16. Poncho
  17. Bar of soap
  18. Pocket/Utility Knife
  19. $10 in ones or quarters
  20. List of important phone numbers (preferably laminated)
  21. Band-Aids
  22. Playing cards/books/crossword puzzles
  23. Pens/pencils
  24. Wet wipes
  25. Whistles (one per person in case you are separated and need to find each other)
  26. Rubber gloves
  27. Change of Clothes for each person
  28. $10 in ones or quarters
  29. Hand sanitizer
  30. Lighter
  31. Box of trash bags
  32. Roll of duct tape
  33. Hand crank radio
  34. $10 in ones and quarters
  35. Thermometer
  36. Mini burners and heat source (to cook food)
  37. Hard candies
  38. Shampoo
  39. Solar powered cell phone charger
  40. Pair of scissors
  41. Rope or string
  42. Pot (to cook food or to boil water)
  43. $10 in ones and quarters
  44. Pet food (if you have pets)
  45. Board games
  46. Towels
  47. Granola bars
  48. Backpack
  49. Copies of prescriptions, birth certificates and other important papers (in waterproof container or bag)
  50. Bugspray
  51. $10 in ones and quarters
  52. Container to hold all of your items!

Now don’t be overwhelmed!!

Call a family meeting and turn it into a scavenger hunt to collect all of your items throughout the next couple months or years. Many of these items you probably already have multiples of in your house and you can just grab the extra and throw it into your kit!  It doesn’t have to be brand name items and it doesn’t have to be overly-complicated, but there is a certain sense of peace that comes once this is completed and you know you are prepared!


I highly suggest printing these off and laminating them as well for your kit!



For more information on assembling your own Emergency Preparedness Kits:

Prepare, plan and stay informed:

Kit maintenance:

For the kids:


Friday 8th of January 2021

Your list says $10 in quarters or ones like 6 times


Monday 27th of October 2014

I've started one. Then last Christmas gave each siblings family a NOAA emergency/weather crank/solar radio. Knowing what is going on is key! I think it helps to identify categories: Food [the types your family likes plus treats for kids, ex. hard candy]; Water is important for drinking, cooking and sanitary needs. Water can be used with Non-fat dry milk to have milk made in small quantities; for me it's also critical to have coffee (its a treat and a need). Have good juice in jugs would also be a treat for kids and vitamins for all if its pure juice. Cooking options ... I'm afraid of propane ... so I could use a charcoal grill or small fuel tab stoves. Medicines and a good first aid kit (the best are the ones you put together to treat headaches; stomach issues (anacids, stomach gas, etc.), cuts and bruises, etc.. Light ... depending on the situation candles might be dangerous ... so I have LED lanterns and flashlights; Warmth ... blankets (I have an extra fleece blanket in the car in the winter plus the emergency blankets in the kit above); a sleeping bag for each person; Shelter ... if your home is destroyed what will you use for shelter? A tent; the car? Communication ... the list mentioned of family; friends; cell phone charger; ... if you're close to others a very good walkie talkie system (sharing the pairs - I still have to do this) will save the cell phone for emergencies ... plus cell phone towers can be toppled during storms, tornados etc. I don't have children and like the comment someone made about having coloring books; board games, books in your emergency stash may bring some normalcy to the situation. Extra sets of clothes and shoes for each person; weather specific items (rain gear and boots; warm coats. Sanitary items: a bucket for you know what; TP; wipes (hand and bottoms) Tools ... duct tape, a multi-use tool, a wrench for turning off utilities (if need be), It becomes a long list. I've made progress but still have lots to add. And critical documents ... copies of credit cards, mortgage, whatever is critical to you. Don't forget a kit for your car ... and grab and go bags. Hope this helps.

will p.

Friday 12th of September 2014

Along with bandages, I would recommend steri strips / butterfly strips for more gaping wounds as well as gauze pads. Time to recheck my kit; thanks everyone.


Thursday 11th of September 2014

Was a winner chosen for the giveaway?


Thursday 11th of September 2014

Yep! I'm just waiting for a confirmation email and then I can announce it. The winner has 3 days to reply before I pick another winner. :)


Wednesday 10th of September 2014

I included a tarp and clothesline.