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Emergency Supplies Kit

Emergency Supplies Kit

Food, Water, Tools and Supplies

Prepare yourself and your family for a minimum of three days.
Due to time required to move relief support, the overwhelming need and disruption of roads and bridges, assistance from emergency services may not be available for up to 72 hours following a major disaster.

It’s never too early to prepare for a disaster.
Disasters seldom give warning and are often devastating to their victims. Some people only prepare for Hurricane Season, but its always Earthquake Season in Charleston.

Keep informed.
Emergency Management officials in the Lowcountry work with local, state and national weather officials and the media to keep residents informed of the best ways to prepare or respond during a disaster situation. The purchase of a Weather Alert Radio for your home and place of employment can help you remain informed of changing conditions.

Storing your Kit.
Choose a location to store your kit where it is cool and dark, such as a closet or "safety corner" in the garage. If you live in an apartment or have limited space, be innovative. Other possible storage locations include under the bed, under stairways or even a large box or plastic tub that can be covered with a table cloth and used as an end table.

Layer and monitor supplies.
Layer supplies and keep them together in a container such as a plastic garbage can with wheels. Check the items every 6 months for expiration dates, changes in your children's clothing sizes and weather requirements. A good way to remember to inspect your kit is to do it when you set clocks back and change your smoke detector batteries.

Use what you have.
Start with what you already have and prepare as if you are going camping for three days in the mountains with no facilities. If you’re a camper you’ve got a head start; camping supplies, tent, camp stove and water jugs, can double as emergency supplies.

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Use canned foods for easy storage and long shelf life. However, be aware that they must be changed out at least annually. Choose ready to eat canned meat, fruits and vegetables that your family likes. A disaster is not the time to try new foods, your mind and body is already stressed.

Your Kit should include:

  • Foods and supplements for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables

  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)

  • Staples - sugar, salt, pepper

  • High energy foods - peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix

  • Vitamins

  • Comfort/stress foods - cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags

  • Don't forget your pets. Store canned or dry pet food along with an extra collar and leash. Pets are not allowed in public shelters, you may need to make special arrangements for your pet or seek a hotel/motel that allows pets during emergencies.

  • Store foods in single or family meal-size packaging. Unrefrigerated leftovers can cause food poisoning.

  • Add a manual can opener, cooking and eating utensils

  • For additional information, see our Managing Food and Water page.

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Store a three-day supply of water for your family. One gallon per person per day is recommended for drinking, cooking and washing. Remember to include water for pets. Date your water containers and replace them every six months.

Tips for storing and using water:

  • Learn how to remove water from your hot water heater in case you need it. Be sure to turn off the gas or electricity before draining water for emergency use.

  • Purify water by boiling it for five to 10 minutes or by adding drops of unscented household beach containing 5.25 percent hypochlorite. The Federal Emergency Management Association recommends 16 drops of bleach per one gallon of water. Purification tablets or a filter system designed for backpackers also work well.

  • Store water in plastic three-liter soda bottles instead of plastic milk-type jugs. Milk jugs will breakdown over time, soda bottles last considerably longer. You can also freeze water and it will last until needed. This frozen water also can be used for non-emergency situations such as camping, fishing, hunting, etc. However, don’t forget to replace the water jugs when you get home.

  • For additional information, see our Managing Food and Water page.

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  • Paper goods, plates, cups, plastic utensils
  • Map of area to find shelters or distribution points (street sign may be gone)
  • Cash or travelers checks and change
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered clock with extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire extinguisher, small ABC type
  • Duct tape
  • Waterproofed matches
  • Sewing kit
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Paper, pencils and pens
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic sheeting or tarps
  • Basic tool kit (adjustable wrench, screw drivers, hammer, etc)


  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags with ties
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Unscented household bleach
  • Insect repellent and sun screen


  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and work gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses


  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Powered milk
  • Medications


  • Heart and high blood pressure medications
  • Insulin
  • Other prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Entertainment - Books, toys and games
  • Important Family Documents to keep in a water-proof container:
    • Will, Insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers/company
    • Inventory of valuable household items
    • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)


  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pair)
  • Sunscreen

Non-prescription drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

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