Be prepared: Build Kits

When a disaster happens, the normal services we rely on each day will be disrupted. A quick trip to the store for a few essential items may not be possible and is not a reliable option. Store supplies at home with the goal of being 2 weeks ready. While you’re working towards that goal, make smaller kits for your vehicle, work and wherever else you spend time.

Get 2 Weeks Ready

Immediately after a large disaster, it may take a while for emergency help and resources to arrive. To help keep you and your family safe after a disaster, build a kit at home with enough supplies to last at least 2 weeks. This means 2 weeks’ worth of food, water, pet food, warm clothes, medical supplies and sanitation materials. Two weeks is a lot of supplies, but don’t be overwhelmed. Make 2 weeks your goal and continually work towards it. Creating a kit for 2 weeks can be as simple as adding one can of food to your shopping cart each time to go to the store and adding that can to your disaster kit. For more tips about preparing over time, try our Prepare in a Year guide.

When thinking about what supplies to include in your kit, think about what items you use everyday. You will want these same items during a disaster. Start with the basics and continue to add from there. Make sure to include personal items — things unique to your family members, such as mobility devices, medications and glasses. For a basic checklist to help get you started, download our 2 Weeks Ready brochure.

Grab and Go Kits

In some types of disasters, you may not be at home or have time to load your 2 Weeks Ready kit into your vehicle or other transportation. Additionally, some hazards may require an evacuation on foot if possible, such as leaving a tsunami inundation zone for high ground. In these cases, you will want to have a grab and go kit — something mobile that has a few supplies to help you until you have access to a larger kit. Remember, building kits does not need to cost money or be expensive. Use materials you may already have, such as an old backpack, duffel bag or small suitcase with wheels. Make sure to include basic items and personal items unique to your needs. Everyone in your household needs their own grab and go kit — including your pets! Download a list in our Prepare in a Year Guide (It's Chapter 4). The state Department of Transportation has tips, too.

Kids and Pets

In building your family’s disaster kits, have your kids help! Together, you can do a scavenger hunt around the house to find items that would be helpful to have in your kits. Teach your kids about what supplies to add to their kit (e.g. comfort item) and what supplies probably should not be added (the pet fish and its water bowl). Remember basic items, such as hygiene supplies, extra clothes and snacks. Make sure to include kid-specific things: non-electrical entertainment, comfort items and a printed contact card with important phone numbers.

Pets are part of the family too! Although your bearded dragon may not carry his own backpack, make sure you have a small kit for each pet. Your pet’s kit should include extras of anything your pet normally uses. A few things to include are extra collars and leashes, a printed picture of you and your pet to prove ownership, extra ID tags, printed veterinarian information and extra medications. Download a list in our Prepare in a Year Guide (It's Chapter 6).


The recommended amount of water needed in a disaster is 1 gallon per person, per day. In building your 2-weeks ready kit, you will want 14 gallons of water per person and pet in your household. That is a lot of water, but don’t be discouraged. There are many options and ideas for creatively storing water or purifying water you find. Our Prepare in a Year guide has a whole section devoted to water and we created these YouTube videos to offer tips, as well.

Storing water is important: Think about it as if a water main broke and you were unable to make a morning cup of coffee because there was no other water in your home. Do store some water — as much as you can with available space. Consider creative storage options like large drums stored in a garage or outside. In a disaster, you will likely need water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. In addition to storing water, also consider other options for purifying water you find, such as water filters or purification tablets. There are many hidden water sources available to you; locate nearby creeks, rivers, lakes, and water sources in your home and teach your family where to find them.

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