Don't Wait Until It Is Too Late - Create a Disaster Kit Now

Build Your Kit: Step 1 - October | Step 2 - November | Step 3 - December
Other Important Basics | Above and Beyond | Other Questions to Ask | Creating a Disaster Kit for Pets
What to bring to a shelter




In the last year or so, three major weather events have moved through the area and brought down trees and power lines, enough to knock out power for days and even weeks.


traffic sign down from Ike

Building damaged during the May 8 wind storm

During those events, many people required immediate assistance because of a lack of planning. Others needed assistance only after several days of the hardship.

You can be much better prepared from now on if you put together a Disaster Kit. Once created you rotate the items to make sure that they are fresh 2 times a year. However, the difficult part is often just getting started.

The National Weather Service Office in Paducah, in conjunction with Emergency Managers and other partners, is having a 3 month campaign to help you put together a kit for you and your family. We are encouraging you to not just talk about doing it - but take action.

There are many different lists out there on what you need. We have looked at most of those lists and attempted to take the best from each one. However, our list is just the beginning. You need to take an inventory of what you have and what you might need. Use the list to get started.

We broke the list up into 3 sections to help make it more affordable and not so overwhelming. You can do this in just 3 easy steps.

These lists are meant for a family of 4. If you have infants, or elderly living with you, then you need to take that into account. For example, have plenty of formula and diapers for the children. The elderly may have special needs as well.


Step 1 - October

Use the list to inventory your food supplies:

Download October List (pdf)


Step 2 - November

Download November List (pdf)


Step 3 - December

December list for Disaster Kit

Download December List (pdf)

*Remember to keep cooking fires, such as charcoal, and generators outside. Never use these indoors. We strongly suggest a carbon monoxide detector for your house.*


Other Important Basics:

  • Ice Melt
  • Snow Shovel
  • De-Icer
  • Ice Scraper

*Another important item is to have both cash and credit cards that you can use to make emergency purchases or to help you get to another place of shelter. Initially after the ice storm some locations were only taking cash and as the area began to recover, some only took credit cards. Remember that ATMs are run on electricity, if there is no electricity, there may be no way to get your money out of the bank. Change may also be useful if you need to go to a laundrymat to wash your clothes.*

Download the Entire 3 Month list (pdf)

Download Explanation and list (pdf)

There are several other good lists out there including this one from the State of Illinois.

A detailed procedure including creating a kit and a disaster plan is available from


Above & Beyond

This section is for ideas to increase your survivability.

Of course, if you want to have your kit last longer than 3 days, purchase more items than what we suggest.

- Generator. If you are going to use a generator, you may need a long extension cord and extra fuel containers.

- Extra change of clothes

- Important family documents are put into a watertight container

- Books, magazines and games to keep kids (and yourself) busy

- One of the biggest things to plan for is the lack of communications. What if your phone and/or cell phone will not work. How will you contact anyone?

- Do you have a ready made list of emergency phone numbers? (i.e., power company, doctor, hospital, insurance company)


Other Questions to Ask Yourself

1) How long can you stay in your home without power, or heating/cooling?

2) If you must leave your home due to an extended outage, where will you go, and how will you get there?

3) Should you get stranded in your vehicle - do you have a winter survival kit available to assist you until help arrives?

4) What is the contact information for the location(s)? (Name, Address and Number)

5) Where will you store your kit, and can it be taken with you to an alternate location?

** If you are able to provide shelter to others in your home during an extended emergency:

6) How many additional friends or relatives can you shelter?

7) Do they have a kit prepared for their family?

8) Have they planned transportation or storage of the kit at your home, in the event of an emergency?

9) If they are storing their supplies at your home, can they walk to your home in the event transportation is not possible?


 What if I have to go to a shelter - What should I bring with me?

According to the Red Cross, you should bring the following with you...

1) Change of clothes (several days)

2) All medications you may need

3) Things to keep you busy

4) Pillow

5) Blankets

6) Toiletries: (toothpaste & toothbrush, deodorant, etc.)


The following information is courtesy of Dr. Daniel Everett of the Paducah Veterinary Clinic

Creating a Disaster Kit for Your Pets

 In our area, we have experienced several severe weather events over the last couple years. We have been told how to properly prepare ourselves in this situation but we also have to consider our pets. Our pets need to have enough provisions so that they are as comfortable as possible and stay healthy.
Outside Pets:

When possible they should be moved indoors during severe weather. Even dogs that are usually outdoors can have trouble in extreme temperatures or conditions. Some dog pens are built under trees with the summer shade in mind. However, during heavy snow falls, ice storms or high winds this can be very dangerous. Trees or limbs could fall hurting the pet or destroying the pen allowing the animal to escape. In below freezing temperatures, water bowls must have the ice broken frequently.

What if you have to leave your home?

There are situations when you have to leave your home for a period of time after a disaster. In this case, your family should have several potential plans of what to do with your pets because your primary or secondary plan may not workout. The best situation is for your pet is to be with the family but that is not always possible and boarding facilities may not be open or they may be full. Friends and family may not be able to care for your pets depending on their circumstances. Now is the time to have a plan for this and not wait until after you realize that you must leave your home.


During the recent ice storm several animals were lost. Placing a microchip under the skin of the pet identifies your pet by a number that is registered with a national data base. When a lost pet is found, the pet can be scanned and the number is called to the national data base. The owners can be contacted by phone. Name tags and rabies tags are often lost or they do not wear them. A microchip is a permanent identification marker that is specific to that animal. This is not a GPS that will locate your pet, but this is the most effective system to locate a missing pet. 

 Emergency Supplies for Our Pets!

Water:             Dogs less than 10 pounds and cats drink 10 ounces per day

                        Dogs 10 – 20 pounds drink 18 ounces per day

                        Dogs 20 – 50 pounds drink 30 ounces per day

                        Dogs 50 - 100 pounds drink 60 ounces per day

These are all estimates. Some will drink more and some less. This will give you a good starting point on how much water to have on hand for your pet.

Food:               In a situation with no power, dry food is much better than canned because it does not spoil as fast. I realize that not all pets can or will eat dry food. Keep a 5 day supply of your pet’s food. The reason I say a 5 day supply is because it may not be easy to find a particular brand or flavor of food. Feeding your pet table food is not a good idea. It can lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea. Also, giving a dog a bone to chew can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, perforation, vomiting or diarrhea. Never feed you pet food that has gone bad. This can make them very sick. Do your best to keep your pet’s food consistent. 


Medicine:         Do not wait till the day of the storm to realize that your pet’s medications need to be refilled. If the forecast is for bad weather, check the bottles and get more if they are needed. In bad weather or power outages, you can not count on a business to be open to refill a prescription. Never give your pet human medicine without first talking to a veterinarian. Some of the common medicines that we take can be fatal to pets.


First aid kit:      Most first aid kits for people have supplies that can be used as a basic first aid kit for animals. A muzzle of the correct size for your pet should be added. Even the nicest of pets can bite when they are hurt. A rope leash is needed to help control the hurt pet. Retractable leashes are worthless for this because they always release at the wrong time.


Towels:            There should be towels and blankets for your pets. Dogs that go outside to use the bathroom should be dried off when they come in. This will keep your pet dry, house clean and furniture dry. Most pets handle colder temperatures better than us, but when we have extreme conditions outside a blanket can help them to stay warm. Young animals and older animals have a more difficult time handling the extreme cold so pay extra attention to make sure they are as dry and as warm as possible.

            Everything that I have mentioned is items that you probably already have in your home. As winter approaches, some extra supplies can make a bad situation a little better for your pets.


If you found this site helpful, and you actually created a kit, please tell us by e-mailing us at






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