4 Crucial Steps for a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan

This article was originally published on my blog, Muses of a Mom, and reposted here with updates and additional information for the reader.

June is National Safety Month and the opportune time to assess your Emergency Preparedness Plan and review it together as a family. 

Summer is the time for many weather-related events, especially hurricanes and tornados. Being prepared for these emergencies is vital, and it’s much easier when the entire family helps.

There are 4 categories that should be a part of any family emergency preparedness plan:

Family Ready Kit
Bug-Out Bags
Pet Plan

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Family Ready Kit

A Family Ready Kit refers to items purchased or collected that are stored for easy access in an emergency. (You may consider purchasing a storage bin with rollers for supplies to help roll it to a vehicle without difficulty.)

FEMA has an extensive list of items for an emergency kit with a printable checklist. Here are the things I found most essential:

  • Water – one gallon per day per person for several days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods per person
  • Hand wipes, cleaning wipes (with bleach), garbage bags, and plastic gloves
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Prescription medicines (update your list on your phone drug store app) 
  • Non-prescription medicines such as pain relievers, antacids, etc.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container (or lighter)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person (store with Bug-Out-Bags)
  • Paper plates, cups, paper towels, plastic utensils
  • Infant formula/baby food, diapers, and other essentials
  • NOAA Weather Radio like this one with battery charger, reading light, and more.

Create a First Aid Kit

Have an extensive first aid kit assembled in another bag to add to your Family Ready Kit. Visit the Red Cross for their list of items that need to go into a First Aid Kit.

Have Essentials in Your Vehicle

Having your primary vehicles cleaned and loaded with essentials will take the pressure off when on the road. 


To be prepared for any emergency, have your important papers organized. Take time now to collect and organize your documents:

  • Insurance Policies
  • Social Security Cards
  • Birth Certificates
  • Passports
  • Deeds or Leases
  • Vehicle titles
  • Marriage license and divorce decrees (even if you have remarried)
  • School transcripts (crucial for homeschoolers!)

Shred, Scan, Save

  • Shred anything with personal information if you no longer need it.
  • Scan all important documents and save them on a thumb drive or an external hard drive.
  • Make a PDF of your latest tax return and add it to the thumb drive or an external hard drive.
  • Use a 5” x 7” manila envelope for each family member’s personal documents: social security card, birth certificate, passport, etc.
  • Put all documents in a waterproof container or a portable fire safe. Have it in a secure location in your home but accessible enough for a family member to grab when it’s time to leave.

Bug-Out Bags

A Bug-Out-Bag (BOB) is a backpack, one for each family member, with necessities needed when it is time to “bug out.”

When leaving home in your vehicle to escape a hurricane or flood, here are the things I recommend for Bug-Out-Bags, in addition to the Family Ready Kit. Store filled backpacks and sleeping bags in a safe, climate-controlled space where they can be retrieved quickly.

Adult and Teen Bug Out Bags

  • Face mask(s)
  • Hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes
  • 2-3 bottles of water
  • Travel-sized hygiene items (or feminine hygiene products)
  • Prescription glasses (if contacts aren’t probable on the go)
  • Small notebook and pen/pencil
  • Individual-sized packages of high protein snacks: peanut butter crackers, small cans of fruit, beans, or tuna (with pull lid), protein bars, plus a plastic fork and spoon
  • Long-lasting, fully charged battery for cell phone and charging cords
  • Small LED flashlight with carabiner (to hook on backpack or clothes)
  • Complete set of clothing appropriate for the climate and sturdy shoes.
  • Cash in small bills (We are so used to debit cards that we forget they are useless if there is no electricity!)

(I didn’t include cell phones since we already have them handy!) 

8 to 12 Year BOBs:

Depending on the child, they can carry many items on the proceeding list, other than medicines, cash, and fewer water bottles.

Allow them to bring a creature comfort, such as a stuffed animal, paperback book, or card game. If carrying an iPad or tablet, remember that battery power will be at a premium if there is no electricity.

7 Years and Younger BOBs:

Your young child can still have their own backpack. While they cannot carry all the items on the list, they can take a couple snacks, a small bottle of water, an extra shirt, and a stuffed animal or another creature comfort. Items they cannot carry can be added to the Family Ready Kit.


Plan for your pet(s), so they can’t escape or get hurt. This is how I prepare for my dog, Zoey:

  • Kennel – Keep one on hand for emergencies, even if your dog doesn’t normally use one. Having your pet in their kennel for transport to a vehicle will keep them from getting spooked and running off. When in a shelter or other accommodation, having your dog (or cat) in a kennel will be essential (if allowed).
  • Water – Don’t forget to add extra water to the family water. A travel water bottle for your dog is handy for long walks and car rides, in addition to emergencies.
  • Food Bowl – Collapsible bowls are space-saving. and easy to pack.
  • A familiar toy or blanket; treats, leash, and/or halter.

Remember – Emergency Preparedness is something the entire family should do together. It’s important to discuss and allow every family member’s input. Gather and pack supplies and make sure everyone knows where they are stored. Practice the plan together and make sure each person knows their job. When there is preparation, the family will feel more secure, andthere will be less anxiety and chaos when disaster strikes.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate, there may be links in this post, which, if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission that helps support this blog. You are in no way obligated to use these links.

6 responses to “4 Crucial Steps for a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan”

  1. I will be sharing this article with all five of my adult kids! We were just chatting last week about our past emergency preparedness. I was surprised they actually remembered what you refer to as our BOBs. We stored them in our basement in a clean trash can with wheels along with a large supply of non-perishable foods. My husband tends toward survivalist mode. 🙂 We live in the Midwest where it is unlikely we would have such a weather emergency, but history has taught us it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Great information!! Time to get those supplies updated.

  2. Thanks for the reminder and great lists! We are on the SE coast and we always hope the hurricanes will miss us but we stay prepared. It's time to recheck out supplies!

  3. This breaks everything down so well. I have an interest in this too. I have a set of worksheets that help families plan all of this out. Great post about getting ready@

  4. Wow, that is a lot to think about and have ready!! And to be honest, I usually only think about things like that when a big storm is coming.

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