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Making a Family Emergency Plan

By definition, emergencies happen when we don’t expect them, and often when families are not together. Suddenly, you need to think about your kids at school or elderly parents across town. If phones don’t work, or some neighborhoods aren’t accessible, what will you do?





Preparing a Family Emergency Kit in Plain English

It’s your responsibility to start gathering supplies and start thinking about what your family will need for at least 72 hours in an emergency, 7 days would be ideal. Recent events have shown us that sometimes the government can’t come to our rescue for several days so plan to be on your own for at least a week and then you’ll be ready. It is much better to be prepared and not need it than to need it and not have been prepared.






Everyday Behavioral changes

Things happen when you least expect it – part of being ready to instantly respond is not having to think about where critical items are kept – especially your flashlight, glasses, keys, wallet and cell phone.

When you are suddenly awoken in the middle of the night you don’t want to have to think about where you left critical items needed for your response or escape

Ideally the following items would be kept in your bedroom in the exact same place every night

  • Keep a flashlight next to your bed – leave it in the same place every night – replace the batteries every 6 months (even if you don’t use it)
  • Your cell phone and glasses should always be in your bedroom at night and placed in the exact same location
  • Your car keys and wallet should always be in the same location
  • It is a great idea to also have your pants and shoes in a regular location –
  • Place your purse in the same location every day




Recommended Emergency Supplies

Food & Water:

  • Water—at least a 7-day supply; one gallon per person per day (include pets)
  • Food—at least a 7-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare, food (include some comfort foods)
    • You may not have power and may not be able to cook so plan accordingly
  • Manual Can Opener (heavy duty, not cheap one)
  • Baby food (7 day supply of bottles, formula, baby food)
  • Pet food ( 7 day supply of food and water) (Note: most shelters do not allow pets)
  • Plastic silverware, disposable bowls, plates and cups (at least a 7 days supply)
  • Gatorade or Powerade (needed to replace electrolytes lost due to stress and sweating)
  • Snacks
  • Vitamins
  • Large Trash Bags

Health Related:

  • Medications (7-day supply minimum)
  • EpiPen (if needed)
  • Over the Counter Medications (Aspirin, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Benadryl, Imodium AD, etc)
  • Hearing aids with extra batteries
  • Glasses and extra pair
  • Contact lenses, storage and cleaning
  • Personal hygiene items(soap, deodorant, toothpaste & toothbrush, Q-tips, hair care, wash cloth, towel)
  • Baby wipes (for bathing without water)
  • Sanitation items (toilet paper & feminine products)

Documents: (photocopies of personal documents)

  • Family and emergency contact information ( WRITTEN DOWN / Printed Out )
  • Medication list
  • Medical information
  • Driver’s License
  • Social Security Card
  • Copies of recent pay stubs ( for proof of address)
  • Copies of utility bills ( for proof of address)
  • Copies of cell phone bill
  • Home/Renters Insurance (and contact info)
  • Health Insurance (and contact info)
  • Marriage License and/or Divorce Decree
  • Court papers – custody, judgments
  • Deed, Titles & Leases for property, home or apartment ( for proof of address and in case of damage)
  • Passports and/or immigration paperwork
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Auto, RV, Boat, Motorcycle Titles
  • Insurance policies for home, auto and other
  • Photos of you house inside and out showing your property & items for insurance purposes
  • Bank account information including account numbers and phone numbers
  • Safety deposit key
  • Copy of bills with account numbers and contact information
  • Copies of credit cards (front and back)
  • Pictures of family members (recent in case lost )
  • Map of Tampa Bay
  • Map of Florida
  • Medical consent forms for each family member
  • Medical history forms for each family member

Clothing & Comfort:

  • Extra clothing (underwear, socks, pants, shirts)
  • Good sturdy shoes or boots with rigid soles (to protect feet from debris)
  • Hat
  • Rain gear (rain coat or poncho – no umbrellas)
  • Blanket and/or sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Sunscreen
  • Reading material
  • Deck of cards
  • Activities for kids
  • Baby supplies (diapers, blanket, pacifier, clothes )

First Aid Kit: (based on the lists provided on the Red Cross & Mayo Clinic websites)

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydro-cortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Elastic wrap bandage (ace or coban)
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins (assorted sizes)
  • Antiseptic spray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
  • Soap or instant hand sanitizer
  • Sterile eyewash, such as a saline solution
  • Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing out wounds
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others)
  • Aspirin and non-aspirin pain relievers (never give aspirin to children)
  • Calamine lotion
  • Over-the-counter hydro-cortisone cream


  • Work gloves
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Duct tape
  • Chain saw (for tree debris)
  • Gas can and oil mixture for chain saw
  • Tarps or plastic sheeting
  • Sandbags (in case of flooding)
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Misc Hand Tools
  • Multi-purpose tool ( like this )
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home


  • Gas cans with enough capacity for an extra tank of gas (with fuel stabilizer like Sta-Bil or Sea Foam added)
  • Verify Spare tire is fully inflated
  • Fix-a-Flat
  • Fire extinguisher

Misc Items:

  • Candles and matches
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight and/or chem-lights
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries for all devices (7 day supply)
  • Matches
  • Gas cans
  • Camera for photos of damage
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Extra cash – Ideally 500 – 1000 in $20s and smaller denominations
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, carrier, bowl, vaccination paperwork)
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
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