When disaster strikes, you’ll need quick, easy access to the right supplies to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. One of the best ways to make sure you’re ready for an emergency is to have a preparedness kit (PDF).
You can buy a ready-made preparedness kit off the shelf, or you can make one yourself. Both options will provide you with important supplies, but if you buy a kit, check to make sure that all of the items included meet the needs of you and your family. For example, a purchased toolkit may not come with items you need if you have pets to care for.
To cover all of your bases, start with a checklist. APHA’s Get Ready campaign offers tips for packing and creating (PDF) a preparedness kit. Use this as a guide to help you gather the items you need to make your own kit or to make sure a store-bought kit has the right contents.
The Get Ready checklist also gives you tips for storing your kit and how often to check the kit to make sure the items are still fresh. This important information isn’t included in many pre-assembled toolkits. And if you have pets, check out the fact sheet (PDF)
on including emergency supplies for pets.
Similar checklists and tips are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
So which is better, making your own preparedness kit or buying one? Both are fine, but make sure your kit contains everything you’ll need. A checklist will help. Also, make sure it has enough supplies to last at least three days. Creating your own kit will take a little extra effort, but you can be sure it includes everything on your list. And when disaster strikes, a well-stocked kit will provide a special something not on a checklist: peace of mind.