Building an emergency disaster kit can be easy and cheap, here's how

You never know when an emergency can strike, but it is best to prepare before an emergency, instead of scrambling during and after one.

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Emergency management leaders encourage individuals and families to have a plan in the event of a disaster. People, according to some experts, should prepare to survive on their own for seven to 10 days. Here's Washington's King County Department of Emergency Management's suggestions on how to make an emergency kit on a budget for individuals and families.

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Take the time to think about your daily activities. What do you need to do to ensure that you are able to recover from a disaster that disrupts your life? Do you have pets? Below are basics for a checklist.


• 1 gallon per person per day


• Non-perishable food with a long shelf-life

• Consider products that do not require cooking

• Food items you like to eat


• Light-sources that are battery powered or hand-cranked

• Portable radio and extra batteries (a great way to stay informed)

• Have alternate means to charge electronics, such as your phone or computer


• At least one extra pair of warm clothing

• Rainproof outer clothing and boots to keep you dry

• Comfortable, sturdy shoes in case you need to walk long distances

First Aid kit

• Basic items, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, and pain-relief medication

• Prescriptions and personal medical equipment


In addition to the checklist above, it is important for your family to discuss how to contact one another, reunite, and respond during different situations. A good family emergency plan should include:

• A home meeting spot

• An out-of-area contact

• Public safety phone numbers for your area (police, fire, hospital)

• Reunification location, if you can’t make it to your home

Each family member should keep personal and emergency phone numbers in a safe place, such as your wallet or emergency kit. They should also know alternative methods for contacting each other if phone lines are down, and for traveling to your reunification location. Deciding these details in advance will help make you calmer during a disaster. has a variety of situations that you can prepare for, from extreme heat, to flooding, to tornadoes, to hurricanes and wildfires.

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