Emergency preparedness: 10 items to have in your kit

What will you need if disaster strikes?

Emergency preparedness means planning ahead. Thanks to the Los Angeles County of Public Health, the checklist of items below makes it easy. Go over them with your family and review and update them once a year so they stay complete and up-to-date. Emergencies can happen at any time, and they often require families to look after their own needs for several days. When an emergency strikes, it’s too late to begin to plan how you and your family will cope with it, or to assemble the things you will need to survive. In the event of a major disaster, emergency services may be overwhelmed and will only to able to respond to life-threatening emergencies. If help takes hours, or even days to arrive, would your family be prepared to cope?

Preparing for an emergency before it strikes is your surest path to survival. One key step is to assemble an Emergency Supplies Kit. By gathering emergency supplies in advance, your family will be much more prepared for an evacuation or extended stay at home.

First things first.

Determine what type of container you’ll use to store your supplies. This will depend on how many people you are providing for. The container should be something that can be picked up or wheeled away in case of evacuation. Some examples include a large, covered trash container, a plastic storage container, or a backpack.Determine where you’ll store your kit. Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of Emergency Supplies Kit in the truck of your car.

Emergency Supplies Kit Checklist

The essential items of a kit include at least a three-day supply of food and water for each person, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools, and emergency supplies and special items.  Click below to download your emergency supply checklist:

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Review your kit every six months. Replace food and water and add necessary items as your family’s needs change.

1. Water

Three days to a week supply – one gallon per person and per pet per day. Remember your pets! Store one gallon of water per person (or pet) per day. Store water in plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that may break, such as glass bottles.

2. Food

Three days to a week supply of non-perishable foods and a manual can opener. Remember your pets! Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Most importantly, select foods that you and your family like including ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, canned juices, milk, soup, high energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, special food for infants, elderly persons, or persons on special diets, and comfort food, such as cookies, and candy.

3. Cash & Important Documents

(deeds, insurance, papers, medical cards, birth certificates, etc.)

4. Clothes

Sturdy shoes, and comfort item for each family member

5. Flashlight

and extra batteries

6. First Aid Kit

and manual

7. Medicine

Over-the-counter and prescription medications, and supplies (like syringes, “g-tube” supplies, etc.).

8. Radio

and extra batteries

9. Toiletries

(diapers, sanitary napkins, trash bags, toilet paper, and paper towels)

10. Tools

for medical equipment (like oxygen tank wrench), fire extinguisher, adjustable wrench, sturdy gloves and whistle

Protection Means Planning

The LA County Department of Health Services protects the public’s health during natural and intentional emergencies, such as a terrorism attack caused by the release of biological, chemical or radiological agents. But you need to do your part to protect yourself and your family during an emergency. Emergency preparedness means planning ahead. The checklists below make it easy. Go over them with your family and review and update them once a year so they stay complete and up-to-date. For a complete list of terrorism agents, go to www.labt.org

Protect yourself. Protect your family. Complete this action list and keep it nearby.

  • Create a Disaster Plan
  • Outline what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate during different kinds of emergencies.
  • Name two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood, such as a library, community center, or place of worship.
  • Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your second meeting place.
  • Know and practice all possible exit routes from your home and neighborhood.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative that household members can call if separated during a disaster.
  • Make sure everyone’s needs are met, especially seniors, people with disabilities, non-English speakers, and pets/livestock.
  • Practice your plan with all household members and be sure they have a copy. J Check on the school emergency plan of any school-age children you may have.
  • Prepare Emergency Supplies

Keep your supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers. Keep the larger one at home and put a smaller one in your car. Include:

  • Three-day supply of water: one gallon per person per day for drinking and cleaning.
  • Three-day supply of food, such as dried or canned foods and can opener. J Cash (at least $50-100 in small bills) and an ATM card. J Changes of clothes and shoes.
  • A blanket or sleeping bag for each person.
  • First aid kit.
  • Family’s prescribed medicines and, if possible, copies of prescriptions.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and waterproof matches.
  • Soap, toilet paper, and extra plastic bags.
  • Items for pets, infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Extra eyeglasses, extra set of car and home keys.
  • Copy of important family papers in a fireproof container.
  • A whistle in case you are trapped.
  • If you must evacuate your home, please take your pets/livestock if possible. Include food, medicine and I.D. tag on the pet’s collar.

In the Unlikely Event of a bioterrorism emergency, review the following bioterrorism agent information. Bioterrorism occurs when substances that can cause illness or death are intentionally released, including:

  • Biological Agents: Bacteria, viruses, or other biological substances. Examples: anthrax, smallpox, plague, botulism.
  • Chemical Agents: Toxic gases, liquids, or solids that can harm people or the environment. Examples: sarin and ricin.
  • Radiological Weapons: Explosive devices that spread radioactive materials. Example: dirty bomb.

For a complete list of terrorism agents, go to www.labt.org

Personal Health and Emergency Information
Talk to your family about the health risks of different emergencies. Do a full accounting of family members’ medical needs and family health resources. Fill out the form below to get started. For more information, please visit www.lapublichealth.org/dis/pubs/displan.htm

Emergency Contact:
• Local
• Out of State
Family Doctor:
Local Hospital:
Local Police:
Local Fire:
Meeting Location #1
Meeting Location #2
Health Insurance Carrier:

Family Member Blood Type Medical Record/ Policy Number
Past/Current Medical Conditions & Allergies
Current Medications

Other Resources

  • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services – Public Health: www.labt.org Hotline: 866-999-LABT (5228)
  • L.A. County Emergency Survival Program (ESP): www.espfocus.org
  • L.A. County Disaster Hotline: 800-980-4990
  • Info Line Los Angeles – “211 LA COUNTY”: 211
  • City of Los Angeles Emergency Operation Organization: www.lacity.org/epd Helpline: 888-356-4661
  • California Emergency Preparedness Office: www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/ddwem/environmental/epo/epoindex.htm
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.bt.cdc.gov Hotline: 888-246-2675
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.ready.gov
  • Poison Center Hotline: 800-222-1222
  • Red Cross disaster preparedness information in Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/

Do Your Part! In the event of any emergency, help us by:

  • Keep 9-1-1 emergency phone lines open for true emergencies. J Use hospitals only for medical emergencies. Keep roads clear and stay home
  • Use flashlights instead of matches or electrical switches if you think there may be a gas leak.
  • unless you are advised to evacuate or have a medical emergency.

For More Information, contact 1-866-999-LABT (5228)
All information here is provided courtesy of the Department of Public Health. Click here to download your emergency preparedness checklist from the Department of Public Health.

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