Published 5 Sep 2023
What is a Disaster Preparedness Kit?
A disaster preparedness kit is a curated collection of items and supplies that helps individuals and groups survive disaster and escape unharmed. Without a disaster preparedness kit, employees don’t have what they need to get through an emergency safely.
In this article
- What to Put in a Disaster Preparedness Kit?
- How to Maintain a Disaster Preparedness Kit?
- Disaster Preparedness Steps
- What is a Disaster Preparedness Checklist?
- Free Disaster Preparedness Checklists from SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
- Featured Disaster Preparedness Checklists
What to Put in a Disaster Preparedness Kit?
The following are disaster preparedness kit essentials:
- 2 water bottles (at least 500ml each)
- Non-perishable snacks (e.g., nuts, cereals, salted pretzels, jerky, dried fruit, applesauce, and crackers)
- Small battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
- First aid kit
- Laminated and updated map of the area (including places where one can seek shelter)
- Antibacterial moist towelettes or disinfecting wipes
- Common medications (such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea, and antacids)
- Identification card (name, workplace, blood type, current medications, known illnesses, emergency contact and their number, home address, etc.)
The disaster supply list above is only meant to last one person for 24 hours. For shared disaster preparedness kits (e.g., 1 kit for the entire workplace) and those that need to last longer than 24 hours (e.g., several days), there should be larger quantities of all items.
How to Maintain a Disaster Preparedness Kit?
Businesses can maintain their disaster preparedness kits by doing the following:
- Replace non-perishable snacks that no longer look appealing or which have been infested by ants and other insects.
- Change the batteries of the radio and the flashlight, even if they haven’t expired.
- Sanitize and clean the whistle if it’s not stored in a sealed plastic bag or container.
- Check the contents of the first aid kit and note down if there are any missing supplies.
- Verify that the map of the area is correct, updated, and easily readable.
- Replace antibacterial moist towelettes or disinfecting wipes that have dried up.
- Check the expiry dates of the common medications in the disaster preparedness kit.
- Issue a new identification card if employee details have changed.
- Add extra items which may be relevant to the current season such as mittens, earmuffs, and scarves for winter and portable battery-powered or manual hand fans for summer.
- Use a disaster preparedness checklist.
Disaster Preparedness Steps
Protect your employees and business against unprecedented disasters by planning ahead of time. Follow these steps to ensure that your business is prepared in case of emergencies:
- Identify hazards – First, learn about the common and not-so-common types of disasters that are likely to occur in the area of your business. Location is a huge factor to consider so prepare for each recognized disaster. Assess risks—internally and externally–that may happen because of these disasters.
- Learn about emergency management – Be knowledgeable about the local emergency organizations present in your area and learn how to contact them. Create an emergency plan solely for your business—consider guides from government agencies, emergency organizations, and your own safety management experts.
- Prepare supply chain – Assess the company’s appetite for disasters to be able to prioritize areas that would heavily affect business operations if not addressed. Proactively monitor for threats and continuously optimize business continuity plans to make them intuitive.
- Assemble a disaster preparedness kit – As mentioned above, prepare a disaster kit that would last for a certain period. Make sure that employees are aware of its location, and check now and then to replace expired items and restock the supplies as needed.
- Determine the best evacuation plan – As part of your business’s emergency management, specify the best evacuation routes in the facility and let employees know about them. In addition, describe in detail what best to do before and during an evacuation.
- Train on first aid and CPR – If possible, conduct first aid training, emergency response training, and other safety-related training that employees can participate in. This helps ensure that workers are well-versed in these kinds of procedures and can attend to each other if needed.
- Practice the emergency plan – The best way to know if a plan works is to test them—this goes with emergency plans as well. Hold drills and simulation exercises so that employees are consistently refreshed about each step. Update and enhance the plan continuously while emphasizing the safety of employees.
What is a Disaster Preparedness Checklist?
A disaster preparedness checklist is a tool provided by workplaces to their employees to help them respond to emergencies calmly and effectively. It may contain instructions on how to maintain their disaster preparedness kits or outline the steps they need to take during an emergency.
For Volcanic Eruptions
Free Disaster Preparedness Checklists from SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
SafetyCulture is a digital safety platform that enables employees to use disaster preparedness checklists on their mobile devices. With SafetyCulture, businesses can:
- Maintain their disaster preparedness kits by keeping a record of what’s in them
- Know when to check if the contents of disaster preparedness kits are still in good condition
- Ensure that employees know what to do when a disaster happens and where to go
- Train employees on how to use the items in their disaster preparedness kits for survival
Featured Disaster Preparedness Checklists
Use this disaster preparedness checklist for earthquake to become familiar with what to do when an earthquake occurs, prepare for an earthquake, and assemble an earthquake preparedness kit. Aside from the basic items in a regular disaster preparedness kit, your emergency kit for earthquakes should include the following:
- Dust mask - Inhaling dust when stuck under debris or evacuating can restrict your airflow so it’s important to always cover your mouth either with a face mask or handkerchief.
- Hardhat - Though this may not be feasible for all types of workplaces, a hardhat can protect the most vulnerable part of your body—your head.
- Signaling device - In case you can’t access your whistle when stuck under debris, a secondary signaling device can alert rescuers to your location.
Use this disaster preparedness checklist for typhoon to become familiar with what to do when a typhoon, hurricane, or cyclone hits. Prepare for such an event by doing the following:
- Be familiar with alert levels in your area (e.g., hurricane watch vs hurricane warning).
- Install a generator for power outages.
- Cover all windows with storm shutters.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
- Be aware that while it’s generally recommended to go to lower ground when a typhoon occurs, going to a higher ground may also be necessary if there is flooding.
Use this disaster preparedness checklist for flood to assemble a flood preparedness kit and perform other actions to prepare for a flood. When a flood occurs, remember to do the following:
- Turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve before evacuation.
- Use the stairs and not the elevators to go to a higher level if evacuation is not possible.
- Avoid passing through floodwaters whether while driving or walking during an evacuation.
Use this disaster preparedness checklist for tsunami to assemble a tsunami preparedness kit that includes your valuable documents and possessions. Immediately evacuate if you detect signs of a tsunami such as:
- earthquake, eruption, or explosion occurs
- noticeable recession in water away from shoreline
- a loud roar from the ocean
- unusual ocean behavior
- a sudden rise or wall of water
Use this disaster preparedness checklist for volcanic eruptions to become familiar with what to do when a volcano erupts and also prepare for volcanic eruptions. Aside from the basic items in an emergency kit, your disaster preparedness kit for volcanic eruption should include the following:
- N-95 respirator mask - When a volcano erupts, there is the risk of inhaling volcanic ash which can be harmful for your lungs.
- Goggles - Volcanic ash can not only get inside your throat, but also your eyes. Protect your eyes from permanent damage by wearing goggles.