FRAMINGHAM, MA – During Emergency Preparedness Month, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) continues to highlight the importance of building an emergency kit.
“Building an emergency kit is an important component of personal and family preparedness,” states MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Emergency kits should include essentials items that will help sustain you and your family for up to three days in the event you are isolated in your home without power during a disaster.”
While some items, such as bottled water, food, a flashlight, radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, sanitation items and clothing should be in everyone’s kit, it is important to customize your kit to meet your unique needs and those of your family. Consider adding medications, extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, extra batteries for hearing aids, medical equipment, oxygen tanks, children’s items, food and supplies for pets and service animals, and any other items you or your family members might need during a disaster.
When building your emergency kit, MEMA recommends using the following list or viewing a printer friendly version of the Emergency Kit Checklist.
Key Items to Include in Your Emergency Kit
- Bottled water (1 gallon per person/per day for 3 days).
- Canned goods and nonperishable foods, particularly those that do not need cooking.
- Manual can opener.
- Radio (battery-powered or hand crank), NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries.
- Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries (Candles are discouraged, as they present a potential danger.)
- First aid kit.
- Diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, if needed.
- Pet food, supplies, tag, crates, if needed.
- Prescription medications (2-week supply).
- Extra pair of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and dentures.
- Extra batteries for hearing aids, wheelchairs, or other medical equipment.
- Medical oxygen tanks, if needed.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, soap, sanitizer, and other personal hygiene items.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Watch or battery operated clock.
- Copies of important documents and IDs.
- Cell phone and charger (also an auto, solar, or crank charger in case power is out)
- Water purification tablets and household chlorine bleach.
- Camp stove or grill (outdoor use only) with fuel or Sterno and waterproof matches or lighter.
- Change of clothes and sturdy shoes.
- Sleeping bags or blankets.
- Disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
- Seasonal items such as warm clothes, hat and gloves for winter, and sunscreen for summer.
- Books, games, puzzles and other comfort items.
- Duct tape.
- Plastic sheeting or tarp.
Check your kit at least annually, for any food, water, batteries, or other items that may need to be replaced or have expired.
Consider also building a mobile “go-bag” version of your emergency kit to take with you in case you need to evacuate to a shelter or other location. When building a ”go-bag,” remember to include necessary pet supplies, such as collars and leashes, a 3-5 day supply of food and water, bowls, litter boxes, and a week’s supply of medications that your pet may be taking, including instructions (in case you and your pet are separated), as well as copies of your pets’ vaccinations, medical records and prescriptions in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container.
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA’s staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector – individuals, families, non-profits and businesses – MEMA ensures the Commonwealth’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.
Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the Massachusetts Alerts free app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.