Emergency Checklist for National Preparedness Month

September is upon us and for most that means fall is right around the corner with holidays and cooler temps.  It also brings us to National Preparedness Month.  Our team member, Kelly Benninghove, is from Oklahoma and she has had lots of experience with prepping for weather related emergencies.  She has put together this emergency checklist so that you can make yourself and your family as comfortable as possible in the event of a weather event.  There are also some ideas of how to store and/or carry your emergency kits as well as some national and local resources you should store on your Smartphones or have within easy access. 

You might ask yourself, “What do I need to be prepared for?” – a natural disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, blizzard and any type of power outage or interruption in water service for an extended period of time.  You should prepare yourself, your family and pets for at least three days worth of food/water/medications. 

If there were an emergency within your community or home, what are some things you may need to grab easily to get you (your family) to a safe place quickly?  How would you stay in touch with what is going on in the area should the power be out or your cellphone battery has died or is not working?  Below, we have compiled a list of things to make an Emergency Kit for your family. 

My basement shelf for emergency supplies

My basement shelf for emergency supplies

Supplies (you should budget for at least three days worth of supplies per person/per pet)

  • Water – one gallon; per person, per day
  • Food – non-perishable items which can be eaten cold
  • Multi-purpose tool – one that contains a can opener function
  • Hand-crank/Battery-powered weather radio – NOAA Weather Radio (we recommend this type of radio which is also a renewable power source for other devices such as a cellphone)
  • Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit – Redcross First Aid Kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wet wipes, garbage bags, plastic ties or a bucket with a tight-fitting lid and toilet paper for personal sanitation
  • Disposable plastic gloves (non-Latex)
  • Small tool kit (to include a wrench or pliers)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic tarp
  • Duct tape
  • Work gloves
  • Surgical masks
  • Matches in a Ziploc bag
  • Household Chlorine Bleach and Medicine Dropper – when diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach= disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water (do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners)
  • Cash
  • Sturdy shoes (either work boots or tennis shoes)
  • Extra set of clothes (jeans/long pants, socks, long-sleeved shirt or sweatshirt)
  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • Family and Emergency Contact Information
  • Disposable camera (for documenting damage and as backup to a smartphone camera)
  • BABIES/TODDLERS: Baby formula, bottles, baby food, powdered milk, diapers, wipes, change of clothes
  • Pet Supplies – food, leash, collar, bowls, ID or vaccination information
  • Oxygen, medicine and/or other medical supplies for elderly, sick, disabled and pets, if applicable (7 day supply recommended)
  • Extra pair of glasses or contacts, contact solution
  • Deck of cards or an easily transportable game for children
  • Plastic cups, plates, utensils
  • Paper towels

If you have older family members, neighbors or kids in college, consider helping them put together an emergency kit.

Storing your supplies in a clear, large storage tub with a lid or in individual backpacks is a great way to have quick access should a disaster strike.  Keep all of the items in one place where each family member has access to and is aware of the location

Preparing Your Paperwork

If you were asked to find the following documents in less than a minute, could you do it?

  • Home and Auto Insurance Policies
  • Birth Certificates and/or Passports for all family members
  • Credit Card and Bank Account numbers
  • Health Insurance cards
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home)

Our guess is that many of you could not locate those documents in such a short timeframe.  If you needed to evacuate your home, these are the documents that you would need to take with you.  If your neighborhood is declared a disaster area, this is the proof needed to gain entry to your property.  Having these documents in a safe or safety deposit box is great, but what happens if you need to evacuate and your bank is flooded with water or destroyed by a tornado?

Another part to your emergency kit is to gather copies of these documents or creating a document with all of your policy and account numbers along with the national phone numbers.  Consider saving this information in one of our favorite apps, Dropbox, or to place these copies in a Ziploc or waterproof bag.

Emergency Plan

It is important that each member of your household knows the Emergency Plan and what to do or where to go should you all not be together should a disaster strike.  Discuss what types of emergencies could take place in your area and determine what responsibilities, if any, each member would take ownership.

  • Choose two meeting points.  In case of fire, somewhere directly outside of the home. If disaster, somewhere outside of your neighborhood.
  • Choose one contact person within your immediate family for checking in.  You should also establish one emergency contact person outside of your local area.
  • Practice your plan 2x’s per year.
  • Know the school/day care emergency plan.
  • Make a plan for after – text, call, social media; enact your established meeting place.
  • Teach children to seek out and ask for help from First Responders such as Police, Fire, Paramedics should they be separated from parents or caregivers.
  • During an evacuation, if your home is not safe for you, it isn’t for your pets either.  Take them with you and keep a list of “pet-friendly” hotels or motels as Redcross Shelters do not allow pets.

Additional Tip for Pet Owners: The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number.

If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.


  • Redcross – 1.) will alert friends/family that you are safe 2.) alert beacon if trapped 3.) depending on the area in which you live, there are several different apps to download such as tornado, hurricane, shelter finder, first aid, etc.
  • Flashlight


Call 1-800-RED-CROSS to “register” your family as safe in a disaster

 If you liked our Organizing Emergency Checklist for National Preparedness Month for weather related emergencies’ post, you’re welcome to use it in your own newsletter or blog as long as you include the following blurb: Certified Professional Organizer and Life Management Expert, Tara Donohue Rudo, helps working moms and families focus on what is important. Get our FREE weekly tips and advice at www.NoMorePiles.com.


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