Ready Houston

Are You Ready?
Step 2: Build a Kit

There are four easy steps to get ready for disasters. The second step is to build a kit.

After you have your plan, start building a kit. The basics include enough food and water to last five to seven days. Then, start thinking about other needs. Make a list of the things you use every day. Don't worry about buying everything at once; instead, pick up a couple extras of a few items each time you go to the store. The following is an example of items to include. However, be sure to think beyond this list so you don't leave anything out.

Basic Supplies List

These supplies should be enough to last five to seven days at home. Smaller versions may be appropriate for work or your vehicle.

  • Water (one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and tone-alert weather radio, with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Rain gear
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Filter mask or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape for shelter-in-place
  • Items for unique family needs, such as prescription medications, infant formula, and diapers
  • Paper towels and disposable cups, plates, and utensils
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Disinfectant
  • Copies of important family documents in a waterproof container (see lists below)
  • Books, board games, and other non-electronic entertainment
  • Pet food and one gallon of water per day per pet

Personal Papers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Important addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
  • Birth certificates or adoption papers
  • Marriage certificate
  • Citizenship documents, naturalization papers, and passports
  • Drivers licenses and state IDs
  • Vaccination records, medication lists, and blood types
  • Court orders relating to divorce, child support, custody, alimony, or property division

Financial Information
  • Wills (Last Will and Testament or Living Wills)
  • Powers of attorney documentation
  • Insurance policies, including policy numbers, coverage limits, and insurance agent contact information
  • Bank accounts with account numbers and bank contact information
  • Credit card account numbers with card company contact information
  • Real estate documents (leases, deeds, mortgages, promissory notes, and closing papers)
  • Vehicle titles
  • Bonds, stock certificates, sales contracts, and financial agreements