Sharing is caring!

As you know, my Mom lives on Kauai and experienced the false missile crisis. When she got the text about the imminent missile heading her way, she knew just what to do. She grabbed her phone and computer, her big tub of emergency supplies (that she keeps fairly updated and within easy reach) and headed to her bathroom. She knew that her bathtub was the safest place in her condo and that her emergency kit would fit inside

While she was telling me her story, I kept thinking about how I would have no idea what to do in an emergency at home. In work or school situations, there are concrete plans in place and people who know what to do.

As a kid, we’re always taught to find an adult. At home, that person is me. And that is scary!

It's easy to start your emergency kit by getting this disaster kit from Ready America online.
I’m all about the one-click Amazon shopping, so I love that this Ready America emergency kit has the basics to get you started. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Is Your Family Prepared if Disaster Strikes?

Mine was most definitely NOT. I mean, I created an emergency kit for my son’s preschool because it was required. If something were to happen at his school, he’d have everything he needed.

In hindsight, I should have created a similar kit for our home at the same time. But, Fall is a busy time of year and I was more concerned about getting my son ready for school.

Several of my friends created their own emergency kits last year after seeing all the natural disasters on the news. A few made kits to leave with babysitters or grandparents.

They included everything from food rations to medical supplies to extra clothing to diapers and wipes. I figured I’d do the same. You know, at some point. But then I got distracted with Mom life and never got around to it.

So, here are some simple ways you can get started. Contains affiliate links.

6 Easy Ways You Can Prepare for an Emergency

1. Teach Your Kids What to Do in an Emergency

While you are driving in the car, turn down the music and talk to your kids about what to do in the case of an emergency.

Explain to them WHAT constitutes and emergency (i.e. “I stubbed my toe” vs. “My Mom is bleeding and won’t wake up.”)

Then, talk to them about what they should do if there’s an emergency. Make sure they know how to call 9-1-1 from your phone (but emphasize that they should only dial if there’s a real emergency.)

And come up with a game plan for them. My son knows to go across the street and ask for help.

Our initial conversation lasted 5 minutes. I touch base with him every week or two quizzing him on what to do. He thinks it’s a game to get all the answers right. I think it’s a smart way to use a few minutes.

Once you assemble your emergency kit, make sure your kids know where it’s located.

2. Order an Emergency Kit from Ready America

Let’s face it, you probably have lofty goals of assembling your own emergency kit for your home. It’s probably not going to happen.

Thankfully, you can just order one online. This is the EASIEST thing you can do.

I have this Ready America Essentials Emergency Kit 4 Person 3 Day Backpack that will keep us going for 72 hours. This kit includes food and water (with a 5-year shelf life), first aid supplies, emergency ponchos, survival blankets and more.

They also have this Shelter-In-Place/Lockdown Kit for 5-Person for larger families.

Ready America emergency kit has items that will last 5 years.
I like that the items in this Ready America emergency kit backpack will last 5 years. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

I like that these kits are contained in a red backpack, making it easy to spot and grab. I’m able to carry the backpack fairly easily. And they are compact, so they fit in a closet or the trunk of a car.

3. Add Personal Items for Your Family

After you get your emergency kit, it’s time to add in items specific to your family. Gather extra eyeglasses, medications, epi-pens, formula, wipes, diapers, and anything else that you need.

If you have pets, don’t forget about their needs!

And have an envelope of cash. With power outages, businesses may not be able to run credit or debit cards. I’d also suggest adding in some pens and paper. I know I’m always scrambling to find a pen.

You don’t even need to search your house (that just adds something else to your never-ending to do list.) Just grab extras on Amazon.

Small toys can keep kids occupied during a crisis situation.
I know these small vehicles will keep my young boys occupied for hours if there is an emergency. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

And you might think about ways to keep your kids occupied while you are dealing with a disaster.

I’m adding in a few travel toy items like these Reusable Sticker Pads, World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game, and Wikki Stix. You could also add in a deck of cards.

And you can always grab items you normally pack in your carry on bag.

4. Write Down Phone Numbers

How many phone numbers do you know by heart? Truth be told, I only know my own cell number and my husband’s cell number. I wouldn’t even be able to call my parents if the battery in my phone died.

So, take 5 minutes now and write any number you might need to call in an emergency. This would include family members, daycare, school, and work numbers.

5. Pick a Meeting Spot

Where can you go if disaster strikes your city? Can you go to a grandparent’s home a few hours away? Choose a spot that would most likely not be affected.

Then, print off directions that use back roads. Chances are, freeways and highways will be packed, and your GPS might not work.

6. Mark Your Calendar to Re-Check Supplies

I’m a total space cadet most days and I rely on my Google calendar for EVERYTHING. That’s why I marked my calendar to check our emergency supplies every 6 months. That way, I make sure our food and water aren’t expired.

Plus, I can add things to it as our life changes. It’s also a good time to make sure you’ve accounted for new babies or pets! It takes 1 minute to add in a calendar reminder and set it to repeat every 6 months.

Personalize your emergency kit to include items for each family member, babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages and medications.
Personalization is key. I know I’ll need ear plugs if we’re sleeping on the go. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

And if you are really ambitious, try coordinating a neighborhood emergency prep event.

We live in a new neighborhood and we’re planning a day where neighbors can get together and assemble emergency kits. It will be a good opportunity to meet our neighbors, pool resources, and talk to CERT specialists.

I feel safest when I know my neighbors.

Thank you to Ready America for providing me with products for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Busy Mom's guide to creating an emegency kit in 5-minute steps


Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.


  1. I am a foster parent and part of that duty entails having safety plans in place in case of an emergency or natural disaster of sorts. I love knowing that I have a kit around in case anything should arise. As a diabetic I always have a kit for my medical needs with me, so I like feeling prepared.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, making sure you have your meds is so important! These kits can also be great if there’s a fire and you need to make sure you have have medications and copies of important documents.

  2. Wow, what an eye opener. I only have the supplies needed for hurricanes, which definitely would not suffice in other situations. I am thinking of having a family dinner and implementing these great ideas. Truly great and necessary post!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Oh thanks so much! I’m glad you’re inspired!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes! It’s so important that they know where it is!

  3. This is actually such a good idea! I live in MN where disaster rarely strikes but I really should put together something for my family just in case!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, it’s amazing how much less stressed I am just knowing we have emergency stuff easily accessible!

  4. A community wide emergency assembling kit is a very cool idea! Warm weather will be here before I know it, I have to get myself in gear and get ours back together and in the van for summer travel.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, keeping a kit in your car for road trips is definitely helpful!

  5. I should really have an emergency kit prepared. It would be nice to know that there are some essentials ready in case of an emergency. This is a great idea.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, it’s super easy to buy a Ready America kit and then add in personal items later.

  6. Smart advice! I was raised by a mom who made this her life’s work, but I just realized that I don’t even have a basic kit in my car. This needs to happen soon!

    • marciecheung Reply

      How awesome that your Mom is helping others be prepared!

  7. Such great advice and I definitely needed the reminder. I go through phases of being better at preparedness and then fizzle out of it. Great post!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, I lose motivation quickly. Best to strike while the iron’s hot!

  8. You’re completely right, we don’t usually prepare ourselves for emergencies very well. I’ll put this on my schedule. Thank you.

  9. Sarah Belanger | Sincerely Anchored Reply

    I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t gone over emergency safety enough with my son. He’s only 3, but that’s no excuse. I’m seeing the need to have monthly safety meetings as a family too since he’s probably forgotten our plan since the last time we talked. Thanks for the reminder.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, it doesn’t even have to be a formal meeting, just a casual conversation when eating dinner or driving.

  10. This is SO important and if I were to guess not many people actually take the time to put this together, including myself. So thank you for this post I will be putting an emergency kit together asap!!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, most people don’t spend their free time creating these kits from scratch.

  11. This is so smart! I really needed to read this as we currently don’t have a plan set in place. I love that you suggested the pre-made emergency kit backpack because you’re right, the DIY kit just won’t happen! Fantastic tips that I will be implementing immediately. Thanks!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, the Ready America kit is a fast way to get a head start!

  12. Jennifer | Blushing Hydrangea Reply

    This is a great post. My daughter recently had to create a home fire evacuation plan at school and it got me thinking how we haven’t really discussed these things, nor do we have an emergency kit. It is something we are taking the steps to rectify.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes! We’re talking about what to do in case of a fire with our preschooler. They remember so much!

  13. I need to update my emergency kit. I need to get an extra charging cord for my phone and maybe new products. The Ready America seems like they have everything you need.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Oh, the extra phone charger is a great idea! One of those battery chargers would be super helpful, too!

  14. This is so important! I, in all honesty, have not prepared my family for an emergency as thoroughly as I should, and this was the perfect reminder and set of steps to take to be prepared. Loved all of the ideas and I’m most definitely going to check out the Amazon kits. Thanks for reminding us to keep our families safe!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Sometimes it takes a few reminders, right? Hoping this inspires you!

  15. Great idea. We keep a kit in each vehicle, our boat, and at home. I try to personalize kits per person so that everyone has a small one they can grab and go if they need to.

    • marciecheung Reply

      You are super on top of it! I love the idea of little kits for every family member.

  16. Your ideas are amazing! We have our emergency backpacks all ready but we need to go over what to do in an emergency with our son for sure! Now that he’s old enough to comprehend emergency situations we need to prepare him for what to do in different circumstances! I will be sure to add some more items to my backpack that I didn’t even think to add. Thanks for sharing!
    xo- Kam

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, kids soak in all the info! My son will probably remember our plan better than me 🙂

  17. That missile alarm was so scary! Nothing like that as a wake up call. We have a go bag and it really helps me keep my mind at ease!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, it was quite alarming! Makes your realize that emergencies might not always be a natural disaster.

  18. I need to update my emergency plans ! Writing down the numbers is smart. No one ever memorizes them anymore.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Right? I wouldn’t be able to contact anyone but my husband!

  19. This is such a great post! I have been seriously working on getting a list together for a target run. I really need to add a first aid kit to each of the cars, our house, and a small one for the diaper bag.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, it’s amazing how often I’m scrambling to find first aid stuff!

  20. An absolutely good and MUST have guide! My son is a cub and has learned all about emergencies and has made his own little emergency kit which is wonderful.
    We have a family one too and it is such a valuable must-have item for any household!
    I really hope a lot of families read this blog post for guidance on how to create a first aid kit!

    • marciecheung Reply

      First aid kits are super important! I used to run all over the house looking for our Neosporin!

  21. We dont have any sort of plan for emergencies. I know CPR at least and we have a cubby downstairs in case of a tornado but no backpack full of things we may need. better get on that….

    • marciecheung Reply

      Keeping up on CPR is really helpful! I’ve been trained a few times, but I think I’d panic in a real situation. I might need a refresher course.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Not even close, but I do like my Amazon Prime 🙂

  22. Marcie, I grew up in earthquake country so very familiar with emergency packs! Really appreciate your tip about adding personal items ?? That is great foresight and total genius!! Mahalo a nui ❤️?

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.