Disaster kits provide a measure of safety and reassurance when the worst happens. Whether there's a natural disaster, like a tornado or earthquake, or a city-wide blackout that leaves you stranded at the office, having a disaster kit available can give you the supplies you need to make it through short and long term emergency situations. Many people design kits for use at home, but it's also a good idea to have food, medical and other supplies handy at work.
Choose a Sturdy Bag
Even though the supplies are the items of real importance, you need a good bag to hold them all. Select a durable, water-resistant backpack with several compartments. If you can find one with a waist strap, that's even better. This will help distribute the weight of the pack more evenly, which will save your back if you have to carry it for a long distance. Attach a luggage tag with your name, phone number and address on it in case the disaster kit is ever misplaced.
Gather Your Supplies
Most of the items in your disaster kit can be found at grocery and drug stores. Even though it’s heavy, pack enough water to supply yourself for a couple of days – about one gallon per day. Choose portable, high-calorie food items with carbohydrates and protein like granola bars, peanut butter, dried fruit and jerky. Store the medical supplies together in another container or plastic bag, and make sure to periodically change out prescription drugs as they expire. Pack a poncho in case you encounter bad weather and an extra pair of socks and comfortable tennis shoes for walking. Having a local paper map might come in handy if roads are closed and you’re forced to take unfamiliar routes. Stash a little extra cash in the bag to make phone calls and purchase any necessary supplies, and toss in a spare house key and a multipurpose pocket tool -- you never know when you’ll need a pair of pliers.
Pack and Maintain Your Kit
Pack your bag carefully, compartmentalizing your items and putting the heavier items on bottom. Once the disaster kit it packed, store it in a desk drawer, locker or somewhere else that it not likely to be tampered with, but is easy to grab in a hurry. Chances are, you won’t have any need to get into your kit, so fight the urge to open it up and take things out (with the exception of swapping out expired medications).
Develop a Plan
Another part of disaster kit planning is determining a course of action if the worst does happen. Having a plan in advance will help you stay calm in an emergency situation, giving you more time to get your kit and take the proper steps toward safety. Consider the location of your job in relation to your home or other important places, like the closest hospital or your child’s school. Plan how you would reach these places using both traditional routes and nontraditional routes. For instance, if you rely on a car or public transportation, what will you do if roads are blocked or mass transit is shut down? Your plan should be comprehensive and flexible so you can respond best to whatever situation is happening.