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Create Emergency Kits for Home, Car and Pets

Disaster Emergency Supplies

When a severe winter storm hits and power goes out, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Be prepared by assembling an emergency kit with the food, water and other supplies needed for several days.

FEMA recommends the following items for a basic emergency kit:

Essential items for an emergency

  • Water. At least a gallon per person per day for at least three days.
  • Nonperishable food. This could include canned foods, dry mixes, and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation. Also, think about snacks, coffee, coffee creamer, and other items that you enjoy or consume every day.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • Flashlight – at least one per person.
  • First aid kit.
  • Extra batteries.
  • Whistle (to signal for help).
  • Masks.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation).
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities).
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.
  • Extra paper products like toilet paper and paper towels.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Prescription medications. An emergency can make it difficult to refill your prescription or to find an open pharmacy. Organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins to prepare for an emergency.
  • An emergency kit for your pet (see the list below).

Once you have reviewed this list, consider what unique needs your family might have and add those items to your emergency kit. Some examples might be:

  • Soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces.
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives.
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution.
  • Cash or traveler's checks.
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Fire extinguisher.
LV Senior man prepares for roadside emergency with survival items in his truck.

Car Emergency Kit

In case you need to leave your home during a winter storm and get stranded, FEMA also recommends keeping the following items in your car:
Jumper cables

  • Flares or reflective triangle.
  • Ice scraper.
  • Car cell phone charger.
  • Blanket.
  • Map.
  • Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction).

Pet Emergency Kit

If your household includes a pet, add items to your emergency kit that your pet would need for a few days. That will likely consist of:

African American woman with pet dog

  • Food. Keep several days’ supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. Store a water bowl and several days’ supply of water.
  • Medicine. Keep an extra supply of the medicine your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container.
  • Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash. If possible, have a backup leash, collar and ID tag just in case.
  • Copies of your pet’s registration information and other relevant documents in a waterproof bag and available electronically.
  • Traveling bag, crate, or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet.
  • Sanitation needs. Include pet litter and litter box (if appropriate), newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated from your pet, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet.
  • First aid kit. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs.
  • Grooming items that your pet needs on a regular basis.
  • Put a few favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit to help reduce their stress.
  • It is recommended that you microchip your pet - and make sure microchip registration is in your name. Having a microchip increases the chances of a lost pet getting reunited with its owner.

After assembling your emergency kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

Additional Resources:

· Take Control in 1, 2, 3—Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults

· Older Adults Flyer

· Older Adults Flyer (Spanish)

· People with Disabilities Bookmarks (Front and Back)

· Prepare For Emergencies Now. Information for Older Adults (PDF)

· Preparing Makes Sense or Older Americans (Video)

· Individuals with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs

· AARP Operation Emergency Prepare

· AARP Operation Hurricane Prepare

· Pet Disaster Preparedness

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