It can take several days or weeks for government services and assistance to reach you and your family depending on the severity of the disaster and your geographic location. An emergency kit is vital to sustaining your family after a disaster.
Use this checklist to build your emergency supply kit over time by adding a few items each week or month. Many emergency preparedness products are eligible for Virginia’s tax-free weekend held annually in August. The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 a.m. and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Regularly replace items that go bad such as water, food, medication, and batteries, and remember to keep in mind your family’s unique needs as you build your kit.
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FOOD + SUPPLIES
- At least a 3-day supply of water and non-perishable food
- Infant supplies such as formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
- Pet food and supplies
- Medications for at least one week and copies of prescriptions
- Medical equipment, assistive technology and backup batteries
- Ice for refrigerating medications
- First aid kit and antibiotic ointment
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and antacids
- Prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and solution
- Medical alert tags/bracelets
- TOOLS + SAFETY ITEMS
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Multipurpose tool and can opener
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Wrench or pliers
- (to turn off utilities)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- (to shelter in place)
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Pencil and paper
- Mess kits, paper cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Cell phone, charger and a backup battery
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Local maps
PROTECTIVE GEAR + CLOTHING
- Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above)
- Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Emergency cash funds should be able to sustain your family several days at a minimum. Government assistance and resources take time.
- Do not rely on credit cards or debit cards as critical networks such as Internet or electrical infrastructure may be impaired. Be sure to withdraw plenty of cash before the storm.
- Plan for evacuation funds to cover fuel, lodging and meals as well as pet boarding costs if you’re asked to evacuate.
Prior to a storm or evacuation, collect and store your critical paperwork in a waterproof storage bag or container. Storing a password-protected backup of your records on a virtual cloud service is also recommended.
- Driver’s license and passports
- Vehicle registration and proof of insurance
- Medical and vaccination records
- Prescription medicine labels
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Marriage certificates and wills
- Proof of residence (deed or lease)
- Business and personal tax records
- Bank account records
- Household inventory (photo or video)
- Local maps
HYGIENE + SANITATION
- Maintaining good hygiene can stop the spread of bacteria and infectious disease.
- Antibacterial soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Moist towelettes
- Garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Surface disinfectants and wipes
- Bleach and rubbing alcohol
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Menstrual Supplies
- Personal hygiene items
COMFORT + PRICELESS ITEMS
You may be away from your home for an extended period and your property may be damaged. Grab any items that are irreplaceable or may provide comfort to your family, especially children.
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Favorite stuffed toys
- Photo albums
- Valuables and jewelry
- Sensory items such as fidget spinners, earplugs, etc.
Visit www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-kit to learn more and download the emergency supply checklist!
Additional disaster preparedness information and resources for those with disabilities can be found at www.vaemergency.gov/disability.
- ID tags on collars and micro-chip pets
- Description and current photos of pets
- Immunization and medical records
- 1.5 gallons of water and sufficient food and medicine for at least three days per pet
- Pet medication, copy of feeding and medication schedule for caregiver, shelter or boarding staff
- Serving bowls
- Collar, leash and carrier to transport pets safely
- Pet toys and bedding
Your emergency communication plan should include extra cellular phone charging devices and batteries as well as additional communication tools: AM/FM radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with additional batteries are recommended.
Write down phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your household and other contacts including extended family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. This information will help you reconnect with others even if you don’t have your mobile device with you or if the battery runs down.
If you have a household member who is deaf or hard of hearing, or who has a speech disability and uses traditional or video relay service (VRS), include information on how to connect through relay services on a landline phone, mobile device or computer.
Identify someone outside of your community or state who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. In a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call because local phone lines can be overwhelmed or impaired.
SCHOOL, CHILDCARE, CAREGIVER AND WORKPLACE EMERGENCY PLANS
Make sure your household members with phone and email accounts are signed up for alerts and warnings from their school, workplace and local government agencies including: police, fire, ambulance services, public health department, public works, public utilities, school system and your local emergency management office. Following these agencies on social media will provide you with an additional avenue to access convenient and critical information.
Other Important Numbers and Information
Write down, store or have convenient access to phone numbers for emergency services, utility and service providers, medical providers, veterinarians, insurance companies and other critical services.
Visit http://data.gov/disasters/apps-tools/ for a list of apps and tools you can use during severe weather and other disasters!