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Make a shelter-in-place kit

“Shelter in place” is another way of saying “stay inside.” It’s a way to keep safe during some kinds of emergencies, such as winter storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. You may also be told to shelter in place during police activity or the release of a gas or chemical, where going outside could put you in harm’s way. If you’re told to stay where you are during an emergency, being prepared will help you and your family.

What to put in your shelter-in-place kit

Your shelter-in-place kit needs to have enough supplies to last up to three days.

Make sure to include the following items in your kit. You can get many of these at a dollar store. Your kit should have:

  • One gallon of drinking water for each person for each day. Include food and water for pets.
  • Ready-to-eat or canned foods that won’t spoil quickly.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Forks, spoons, knives, plates, and cups.
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries. You can also buy wind-up radios that don’t need batteries.
  • Fully-charged backup batteries or power banks for cell phones.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper. To disinfect water with bleach, add 8 drops of bleach for each gallon of water. Disinfect water only if told to do so by health officials.
  • Personal hygiene items for each person, such as hand sanitizer, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and wipes.
  • Child care supplies or other special care items.
  • Trash bags, plastic sheeting, scissors, and duct tape.
  • Common tools.
  • A copy of your family emergency plan.

Depending on your needs, you may also want to have these items in your kit:

  • Back-up medical equipment, such as oxygen, a scooter battery, mobility aids, hearing aids and batteries, and glasses.
  • Supplies for pets and service animals.

Don't forget to...

  • Have enough supplies for everyone in your home. This includes pets.
  • Keep your shelter-in-place kit in a place where you can get to it easily.
  • Tell everyone in your home that the kit is only for emergencies.
  • Check the food and batteries in your kit twice a year to make sure they haven’t expired. An easy way to remember is to check the kit each time you reset your clocks for the start or end of daylight saving time.