EMERGENCY SUPPLY CHECKLIST: Learn how to make a kit to prepare for disasters

Image of emergency supply checklist with supplies to use during a disaster

With back-to-school shopping in full swing, now is a great time to also gather disaster supplies.  By getting prepared now, you can make sure that you and your loved ones are ready for a disaster at home and at school.

Start by organizing two types of supplies - a “go-bag” and a “stay at home” kit.  Prepare a “go-bag” in case you need to leave your home or workplace in a hurry. A “go-bag” should have some basic supplies that may be necessary if you evacuate, such as copies of important documents and medical records, and any medication or supplies that you will need to stay safe after you have evacuated.  This could be used in a wildfire, chemical spill, or other situations where the area you are in is no longer safe and you have been informed by local officials to prepare for an evacuation.

You should also have a “stay at home” disaster kit that can be used if you are unable to easily leave your home or neighborhood, or if authorities have asked you to avoid roadways.  This kit contains supplies that can help keep you safe in the days after a major earthquake if utilities are down and it is difficult to travel. Store the kit in a location that will still be easy to access after an earthquake - the exact location will vary based on your living situation.  Some key supplies include drinking water (at least one gallon per person and pet per day for at least three to seven days), long lasting food, flashlights with batteries (store them outside the flashlight so they don’t corrode), and a radio that doesn’t need electricity to operate.  

The Emergency Management Department has compiled a list of things to include for both your “go-bag” and “stay at home” kit.  Add any personal items that you and your loved ones will need, like extra clothing and shoes. It is important to remember to include items for all family members; especially older adults, people with disabilities, people with access and functional needs, children and pets.  Consider adding some comfort items, such as a book, a board game, or a deck of cards. 

Keep in mind that you should also think about a kit with supplies you would need at work, in your vehicle, and/or at school.

Shopping for preparedness at school, home, work, and for your family will ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe during a disaster. After your kits are ready, you may want to start preparing with your neighbors.  The City of Los Angeles’s Emergency Management Department can help with our free program - Ready Your LA Neighborhood. To learn more, visit emergency.lacity.org/RYLAN