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When you have a household or business emergency plan, make sure you have the tools and supplies needed for your plan on hand. This is your emergency kit.

Emergency kits don't have to cost much. You can use older, used or extra items around your house:

  • Clothes with holes in them are enough to keep you warm and clean in a disaster.
  • Old prescription glasses may not keep you at 20/20 now, but they are better than having no glasses at all.
  • It's also great to pick up kit items at thrift stores, garage sales and buy one/get one sales at your grocery store.

A little bit at a time over a few weeks and you'll have a full emergency kit for your household at little cost.

Three types of kits

If you can't make all three, concentrate on the shelter-in-place kit and then the car kit: they will be needed more often. Your kit should reflect the needs of your family or business.

Shelter-in-place kit

Store this in the severe weather shelter in your home or business. It should have enough food, water and supplies for everyone for three days. Plastic totes make good dry storage for emergency kits.

Car kit

This kit can be very basic and stored in the trunk or back of your car in a box or bag. It should have enough supplies to help you stay safe and healthy if you are trapped in your car away from nearby help for a day or so, for examole, if you are stuck in a snowbank during a blizzard. 

Evacuation kit

This is a smaller, portable version of your shelter-in-place kit. It stores just enough supplies for one day for everyone in the house - enough to get you through your travel to a safe location. Depending on the situation and where you live and work, you could be evacuating in your car or on foot. You may not have access to the supplies in your car kit or your shelter-in-place kit. Store your evacuation kit in an easy-to-carry bag, such as a backpack near your door, so you can grab it on the way out. 

You should check your emergency kit at last twice a year and change any items like food or medicine that may be expiring in the next six months.

You should replace any seasonal clothes for the weather season to come. When you change your clocks in the spring and fall, consider updating your emergency kits at that time.