When preparing for natural disasters or emergency situations, the only way to truly be ready is to prepare in advance. And that’s why I’m sharing how to D.I.Y. a quick and easy disaster survival kit today!

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D.I.Y. Quick and Easy Disaster Survival Kit

An emergency situation can range from a tornado or hurricane to power outages or having a vehicle break down in extreme weather. Floods, earthquakes, medical emergencies… the list can go on and on, which is why it’s important to have your D.I.Y. disaster survival kit and plan in place.

Decide on a safe place to store your disaster survival kit. It should be someplace easily accessible in an emergency, and it should be in a spot that everyone can reach.

Here are some of the most important items to have at the ready in case of an emergency situation.

Two important items that require a bit of prep

The bulk of this D.I.Y. disaster survival kit can be put together quickly and easily, but to be thoroughly prepared, there are 2 things you need to take care of that require a bit more time.

Photo inventory of your home

If you’re anything like me, the thought of taking an inventory sounds time-consuming and overwhelming, but it really can be done quicker than you think!

Set aside 15-30 minutes to go around your house and snap photos. Be sure to get photos of the most expensive items you own (think appliances, furniture, electronics, jewelry, and other valuables).

Don’t forget to take photos of each room, and be sure to open up closets and drawers in order to get a more accurate account of the value of everything you own.

Remember to photo-document things in the garage, tool shed, basement, and attic. And don’t forget to take photos of all vehicles, including boats, 4-wheelers, and similar possessions.

Keep copies of the photos stored on a flash drive in your D.I.Y. disaster survival kit, and also make sure to store them in the cloud, such as in Google Drive, iCloud, etc.

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Copies of important papers

This one might take a little longer, but it’s so worth it! You’ll want to make copies of important papers. Think basically anything you would store in a safe—birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, etc.

It’s also prudent to make a copy of your driver’s license, health insurance cards, or other important ID cards, as well as copies of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies, or at least the policy numbers.

Don’t forget to include your credit card information, banking account information, and any mortgage documents, and having contact information for your utility providers is something to consider including as well.

Also, take the time to make a list of all your healthcare providers, yours and your family member’s prescriptions, and any important contact information for the caretakers of people you’re responsible for—like elderly parents in a nursing home or care center.

One of the wonderful things about technology is that many of these items or documents can be accessed through online accounts or apps on your phone. However, you never know what might happen in a crisis, so it’s better to be over-prepared.

Print out copies of these documents and store them in a binder in your disaster kit. And just like your home inventory, save digital copies to a flash drive and in the cloud as well.

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Quick and easy essentials to build your disaster kit

Why a whistle?

Depending on the scenario, you might need to be heard in order to get help, and you might be unable to yell loud enough to attract attention. A whistle is a good emergency item to have on hand, and unlike an electronic personal alarm, you don’t have to worry about those tiny little batteries dying.


IMPORTANT: Storing these emergency items in a waterproof container is essential. None of these things will be helpful if they wind up getting wet, and all your hard work and preparation will be for nothing. A backpack or 2 that are water-resistant would be great, that way you can grab them and carry them easily at a moment’s notice.


Things to gather last minute

  • Keys
  • Cell phone
  • Prescription medicines
  • Your D.I.Y. disaster survival kit!

And if you have time, put on shoes that cover your feet! This will help protect you from nails, broken glass, or splintered wood depending on the situation.

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Disaster survival kits for vehicles

Being stranded on the side of the road is something we hope will never happen, but vehicles do breakdown, tires get punctured and go flat, and bad weather and accidents happen, unfortunately. But we can do our best to be prepared!

Keep a disaster kit in each vehicle along with a spare tire, jumper cables, and anything else helpful, such as rain boots and a weatherproof jacket or rain poncho.

In the event of a water disaster and the threat of a vehicle filling with water, you need to have items in your glove box or center console to help you escape. If your seatbelt becomes stuck or a door or window refuses to open, you need to be able to get out quick!


IMPORTANT TIP: Did you know that the adjustable headrest on your seat can be completely removed? In an emergency, the long metal pieces that serve to hold your headrest in place inside the seat can be used to help break a window to escape.

Establish a safe place to shelter in your home

Finding a safe spot inside your home is extremely important for emergency situations. My family lives in tornado alley, so we’re always mindful to keep a place open in the innermost closet of our house where we can hunker down during tornado warnings.

If you live in a place where tornados, hurricanes, or earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence, be sure to have a place ready inside your home to take cover when these disasters strike.

And make sure you’ve got your disaster survival kit in your safe space ready to go!

Agree on a meeting point outside

If you ever find yourself needing to escape your home, such as in the event of a fire, you’ll want to have a pre-established meeting place to reunite with your family.

Sit down with everyone in the household and talk about the best place to reunite outside, whether it’s across the street in a certain neighbor’s front yard, or wherever. Make sure everyone understands, and then practice it!

Physically go through the motions of acting out the scenario so that it becomes familiar and you and your family will more easily remember where to go if anything should ever happen.

Have a plan for long-term evacuation

In the case that severe damage should happen to your house—such as a flood, fire, storm damage, or even power outages in extreme temperatures—you need to have a plan for evacuation and a place to stay for an extended period of time.

Of course there are situations we just can’t plan for, but we can do our best to be prepared and have an idea of what course of action we should take ahead of time.

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If at all possible, try to avoid staying in a hotel. The costs will skyrocket by the day and it will become virtually impossible to afford after a week or even a few days.

If you have close friends or family members, discuss your emergency plans with them so that you know you’ll have a safe place to go.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to stay with a family member, maybe because they’re too far away or even too close (the same disaster that could affect you might affect them as well). So look into your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see if staying in a hotel is something that’s covered in the event of a flood or fire.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you have a plan in place regarding any pets! Decide ahead of time who will grab your animals in the event of an escape or evacuation.

Keep your disaster kit maintained

Be sure to check your disaster kit at least once a year to make sure everything is in good working order.

As time goes on, you’ll need to update the copies of important papers as well as the photo inventory of your home and belongings.

Batteries should be switched out and replaced with fresh ones every so often, and radios and flashlights tested. Be sure the matches are still good and haven’t gotten wet.

Remember to replace your phone charger, cords, and battery each time you update your phone to a new model.

And of course, food and water will need to be cycled out and replaced as expiration dates near.

Keep an eye on your first aid kit as well, making sure any medicines are still good.

Something else to consider is clothes and shoes, especially if you have kids. As your children grow, you’ll need to keep their clothing and shoe sizes up to date.

A final word of wisdom

Whatever you do, NEVER borrow items from your disaster survival kit! If you tell yourself it’s okay to take a few batteries from your kit here or there, or raid your emergency cash once in a while, you’ll be left helpless when disaster strikes.

Just don’t do it, it’s not worth it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial on making a D.I.Y. quick and easy disaster survival kit! Do you have any items to add to this list? Add in them in the comments section below!

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