What You Need To Know When Packing An Emergency Disaster Kit

There are many types of natural disasters and emergency situations that could cause you to leave your home on short notice. Of course, in Florida, the most common concerns are hurricanes; however other emergencies, such as a fire or flooding, could also be a cause to leave. To be prepared to leave on short notice, you should have emergency supplies put together and ready to go on short notice or at least gathered in an area where it would be quick to pack. The bag should be large enough to contain your most important supplies, but not so heavy you won’t be able to carry it during an emergency.

Here is everything you need to know when packing your emergency grab-and-go bag (or emergency disaster kit). 

Don’t Wait For An Emergency To Pack For An Emergency

When it comes to dealing with an emergency you want to be as prepared as possible before it hits. There will be enough panic and worry going on in the moment that the last thing you need to be worrying about is whether you have gathered everything you will need before leaving your home. It is best to always have a basic grab-and-go emergency bag put together and add to the bag based on the specific situation if needed. Don’t wait until the weather updates are letting you know a disaster is on the way, there will be too many other things you need to get done during that time, plus not all disasters come with a fair amount of warning time. Always have your bag prepared and ready to go!

Food And Water

Your emergency disaster kit should, at a minimum, contain simple non-perishable snacks and bottled water. It is best to seal food in an airtight container to help prevent the attraction of pests, particularly while your bag is only being stored. You should also consider including a portable water filter besides your bottled water, so you can replenish your supply if you run out. If you have an infant, don’t forget to include infant formula and bottles as well.

Change Of Clothes

You will want to have, at a minimum, a day’s worth of clothes; however, a 2-3 days’ supply would be best and probably more realistic should a disaster occur. Depending on the conditions you are exposed to, more than one change of clothing per day me be necessary. Make sure you include underwear, socks, rain gear, and comfortable walking shoes. You should also include a warm blanket in your bag. If you have a child that is not potty-trained make sure to include diapers. You can pack the clothes and blanket in a waterproof, vacuum-sealed bag to help you save space.


You don’t want to go overboard on toiletries, but you do want to make sure you have at least a small kit of the essentials with you. Travel-size soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, moist towelettes, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. work well. If there are any females in your family, be sure to include feminine hygiene products as well.

Medications And First-Aid Kit

You will want to make sure each member of your family has a small first-aid kit packed in their grab-and-go bag. Your first-aid kit should include band-aids, antibacterial ointment, burn cream, gauze, tape, etc. You will want to include over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrheal medications, antacids, and allergy medications. You will want to have at least a three-day supply of any prescription medications and medical supplies such as blood glucose monitors or asthma inhalers as well. Once you have evacuated from the emergency, locate a pharmacy to refill your needed prescriptions.

Important Documents

You will want to make sure you have a copy of all your most important documents with you before you leave. The most important documents include:

  • Passport / Driver’s License / Other Forms of Identification
  • Social Security Cards
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Important Medical Documents / Children’s Immunization Records
  • Insurance Policy Documents / Insurance Cards
  • Pet’s Medical Records / Vaccination Records / Microchip Records
  • The Deed to Your House
  • Your Will / Trust

Some of these documents may be ok to have stored digitally—such as insurance or medical records; however, certain documents should be their original, like forms of identification and birth certificates.

Other Misc. Items

There are many other items that could be included in an emergency grab-and-go bag but aren’t necessarily important for everyone to have. Review your emergency evacuation plan for your family and determine which of the following additional items your family’s plan will need and who in your family will be responsible for having it packed in their bag.

  • Flashlights / Glowsticks
  • Local Map
  • Small Am/FM Radio
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Hi-Visibility Vest
  • Important Contact Numbers
  • Pocket Knife / Multi-Tool
  • Can Opener
  • Garbage Bags
  • Reading or Prescription Glasses / Contacts
  • Cash (in small denominations, not large notes)
  • Flash Drive (with your favorite photos and important documents)
  • Face Mask
  • Scissors
  • Duct Tape
  • Books / Games / Puzzles
  • Mess Kits
  • Toilet Paper / Baby Wipes
  • Charger / Backup Battery for Cell Phones
  • Paper / Pens / Pencils

Check In With Your Independent Insurance Agents

Now that you know everything you need to about building your emergency grab-and-go bag (or emergency disaster kit), you should also review your current insurance policies including your homeowners’ insurance, rental insurance, life insurance, and automobile insurance policies to make sure you are properly covered for an emergency. Contact us today to review your current policies or discuss your needs for a new policy with a licensed insurance agent!


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