Four Steps to Preparedness

  1. Develop an Emergency Plan: Develop a plan for what to do at home, and learn about plans at your workplace, school, or anywhere your family spends time.  Include emergency contact information for friends and family members, both local and out of town.
  2. Build an Emergency Supplies Kit: Often during an emergency, electricity, heat, air conditioning or telephone service may not work.  Be prepared to make it on your own for at least 10 days. Learn what emergency tools and supplies you should gather for your kit.
  3. Be Aware: Sign up for NY-ALERT at to receive emergency notifications.  Learn about other resources that can provide you with updated information during an emergency.  Pay attention to news and know your surroundings.
  4. Get Involved: Affiliate with a recognized disaster volunteer organization such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army before a disaster.   Getting involved with a disaster volunteer organization before an emergency will increase your ability to help when it is needed.  After a disaster, before going directly to volunteer at a relief organization, hospital or a disaster site, wait for instructions from local officials or check with specific organizations.  Be patient.  After a disaster, many people often wish to volunteer. There may be a greater need for volunteers weeks and months after disaster strikes.

Emergency Supplies

Every member of your family should have an individualized kit of emergency supplies.  The kit should contain enough food, water, medications, and other consumables to last up to 10 days.

Check your kit every week and build one for each member of your family.  Be sure to incorporate every family member’s individual needs in their kit and add an entertainment item such as a deck of cards or a paperback book. 

Include the following in your emergency supplies kit:

Food and Water

Bottled Water
  • Bottled water - one gallon per person per day, collapsible, sterile water container.
  • Ready-to-eat canned foods - vegetables, fruits, beans, meat, fish, poultry, pasta, soup, juice.
  • Milk - powdered, canned or shelf-stable brick pack.
  • High energy foods - peanut butter, jelly, nuts, dried meat (for example, jerky), granola, trail mix, energy bars.
  • Staples - sugar, salt, pepper, instant coffee, tea bags, cocoa.
  • Candy - chocolate bars, hard candy.
  • Infant and small children's needs - baby food, formula, disposable diapers.
  • Specialty food - for older adults or people on special diets.
  • Pet food (if needed).


Health and Hygiene Supplies

  • Prescription medication - at least one week's supply.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Pre-moistened hand wipes - pre-moistened baby wipes.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toiletries - toothpaste, deodorant.
  • Feminine hygiene supplies.
  • A list of family physicians, important medical information, and the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.


Personal Supplies

  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes for each family member. Sleeping bags, bedding or blankets for each family member.
  • An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses and solution (be sure to check expiration dates).
  • Document Holder with identification, credit cards/traveler's checks/cash, and photocopies of important family documents including home insurance information.
  • Supports you need for daily living such as sensory items such as fidget toys, weighted blankets, noise canceling headphones or adaptive feeding devices (specialized utensils).


Household Supplies and Equipment 

  • One-gallon liquid chlorine bleach
  • Battery-powered radio or TV
  • Flashlights - one for each room of the house
  • Lantern LED
  • Glow sticks
  • Extra fresh batteries for radio, TV, lantern and flashlights
  • Whistle
  • Gasoline (if you plan to use a generator outdoors)
  • Propane fuel (if you plan to use a grill or camp stove outdoors)
  • Charcoal (if you plan to use a barbecue grill outdoors)
  • Disposable tableware, including paper towels and napkins
  • Manual can opener
  • Plastic bags - zip sealing, garbage
  • Fire extinguisher (small canister A-B-C type)
  • Food thermometer - able to measure temperature from 0 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Crate for your pets



  • Rope (for rescue, tow, tying down property)
  • Shovel
  • Hammer and nails
  • Multi-Tool with pliers
  • 4 in 1 Emergency Tool (with gas and water shut off)
  • Reflective Vests
  • Work gloves
  • Eye Goggles
  • Utility Tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Clean-up supplies
  • Broom
  • Buckets (5 gal min, with lids)
  • N-95 particulate masks
  • Disinfecting spray
  • Mop
  • Paper towels
  • Rags (to clean with)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponges
  • Garbage bags with ties


Emergency First Aid Kit

Have these supplies on hand:

First Aid Kit
  • First aid manual
  • Assortment of sterile gauze pads and adhesive bandages
  • Medical tape
  • Ace bandage
  • CPR mask
  • Quik Clot
  • Over-the-counter drugs (aspirin, antidiarrheal medications, and activated charcoal)
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Soap
  • Nitrile gloves
  • SAM splint
  • Oropharyngeal airways set
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers and needles
  • Tongue depressors

Other Tips

  • Learn about hazards or emergencies that may affect your community.  Learn about community emergency plans and how you will be notified when an event occurs.  Emergencies may happen when you or your family members are away from home, so learn about plans at your work, school, or anywhere else you and your family spend time.
  • Consider the needs of family members. Infants, the elderly, and those with functional needs require the same planning as everyone else, and sometimes a little more, to be ready for an emergency. 
  • Check on neighbors.  If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as a ventilator, respirator, or oxygen concentrator, make plans to ensure their needs are met during emergencies.  Check on them, if possible, during and after the emergency, and notify others who could provide help such as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends, and the local fire department.
  • Plan what to do with pets.  Public health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters, nor do most hotels or motels allow them.  Contact your local emergency management office to inquire if sheltering plans include pets.  Always plan in advance for shelter alternatives that work for you and your pets.
  • Pay attention to news.  Know local radio and television stations that can provide you with up-to-date information during an emergency.  Make sure you know which stations are part of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) – the primary outlets for official emergency information.
  • Acquire a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio to monitor severe weather, if possible.  Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. – severe weather warnings are issued on a county-by-county basis.
  • Learn first aid and emergency medical care so you can help save lives and reduce suffering during an emergency.  Adults and teenagers can acquire these valuable skills by signing up for general first aid and specialty courses, which are offered free in many communities.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you see something unusual or suspicious, please contact local law enforcement or call New York State’s Terrorism Tips Line at: 1-866-SAFE-NYS (1-866-723-3697).  In New York City, call the NYPD at 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233).
  • Get Involved: Learn about volunteer programs in your community and donate time.