Preparing Your Family for an Emergency


This week’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand serves as another reminder that disaster can strike anywhere, without warning.

Laura Howe, vice president of Public Relations at the American Red Cross, said an emergency supply kit is the most important thing for families to have to be as prepared as possible for such situations. Having a kit at home, one in the car and even a small one at work can help cover all bases to ensure you will be ready if and when you need to, Howe said.

Most kits can be assembled for less than $30, she said, but the bigger the family, the more supplies necessary to keep everyone safe in such situations.

“I think people always ask how important a kit is, until they have a disaster that affects them,” she said. “That’s when you can’t find your flashlight or extra batteries for your radio.”

Disaster kits should have a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, small first aid kit and comfort items family members may need. Howe said the kit should also include any prescription medications and copies of important insurance and identification information.

“People underestimate their disaster risk,” Howe said, “but disasters are much more common than people think. They think of big-scale disasters, but forget that things can happen right around the corner from where they live or work.”

For a complete list of emergency kit necessities, visit