This DIY Emergency Kit for Families and Pets is a sponsored post on behalf of ServiceMaster Restore.
Creating a DIY Emergency Kit will vary somewhat from person to person. But before you begin preparing your kit, you’ll need to come up with a checklist of items that will vary from person to person. These are your daily essentials that you rely on, no matter what happens. After the first five items that you’ll likely grab at the last minute, the other items will be things that you can keep in a back for whenever an emergency or natural disaster arises so you can grab and go.
Once you have your bags set up, you won’t have to think about them much. You’ll want to check the expiration dates on the food and rotate that out as needed, as well as swap out the clothes in your bag for seasonally appropriate ones and ones that fit. Kids grow pretty fast, so what was fitting your little one in March may not still fit in December. A good time to update your DIY emergency kit is during Daylight Savings Time, when you should also be reviewing the Home Fire Checklist for Families.
This list is a compilation of items suggested by ServiceMaster Restore, the leaders in disaster restoration services, and my own personal picks as well.
- Backpacks for each member of the family. We even have one for our dog. You don’t have to spend a ton on this back but it needs to be lightweight and roomy enough to fit everything you’ll need for 72 hours. You’ll also want to make sure this is not the bag you use on a daily basis as you’ll want to keep it packed and ready to go.
- Medications for the entire family (don’t forget your pets)
- Thumb drive with copies of important papers (birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, bank account, and credit card information) and important contact information (family, local Red Cross, insurance agent, employers, schools, utility information).
- Cash (bills $20 and under, as well as quarters are ideal).
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses, contact lens solution and case, and hearing aid batteries.
- First Aid kit. You can start with a store bought kit, or mix and match to create your own. I did the latter to ensure I had the medications needed for our entire family including the little ones. (Don’t forget the syringes!) I use a small tackle bag with shoulder strap that came with divided plastic trays to make everything easy.
- Water (1-gallon per person, for 3 days. Don’t forget pets.) Water bottles distributed into each person’s bag will be the easiest way to ration and keep the weight down for each member of the family. Another alternative is to buy a water bottle with reusable filter built into it, or, a stainless steel water bottle and these stainless steel mouth spreader so you could boil water if you needed to.
- Water purification tablets or a way to purify water. I like the Life Straw.
- Non-perishable food (3 day supply) and pet food. In our family, each person carries their own food in case one of us gets separated everyone will still have food. Each person’s backpack has three gallon sized plastic bags with each meal for that day. You’ll want calorie-rich, yet lightweight items. Thinks protein bars, tuna in vacuum sealed bags, trail mix, ready to eat soup, etc. (If your family has any special dietary requirements, make sure you’ve packed foods that accommodate these conditions.)
- 2 flashlights with extra batteries. I like to keep a small flashlight on an aluminum clip on one of the zippers on my backpack for easy use, but I also like this flashlight because it’s lightweight and waterproof (perfect for kids) and this flashlight because it really puts out a lot of light.
- Extra cell phone with charger or reserve power bank. A great idea for this is to use one of your old cell phones you have lying around. Little known fact: even if your cell phone does not have service, it can still call 911.
- Portable, battery-powered emergency radio plus extra batteries. I really like this particular radio because it has a solar panel, can be hand cranked for power, has the ability to charge cell phones and other small electronics, and has a flashlight built in.
- Candles and matches in a waterproof container.
- Multi-tool pocket knife. This is the particular model I bought for my husband several years ago for Christmas. He lost his original one last summer and replaced it with the same model which he carries everyday.
- Manual can opener.
- Paracord or sturdy rope.
- Duct tape.
- Multi-function whistle with thermometer, compass, and magnifying glass.
- Blankets. A great way to save space in your bag is to buy a few of these emergency blankets.
- Baby wipes, toilet paper (with the roll removed so that it flattens and takes up less space), hand sanitizer, and other sanitary/hygiene items.
- Diapers, if your little ones are still wearing them.
- Change of clothes.
- Waterproof poncho.