Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

The Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response consists of two divisions which are also the central point of contact for Emergency Management and Emergency Communications (911).

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Sep 09

Building a Preparedness Supply Kit

Posted on September 9, 2020 at 4:00 PM by Daniel Hudson

Week 2 of the National Preparedness Month focuses on building a preparedness supply kit.

Emergencies can happen any time, so it’s important to have an emergency preparedness kit ready should disasters strike.  

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you and your family may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. It can be hard to imagine several days or weeks without power, Internet, or running water. But in the event of an emergency, anything can happen. That's why it's crucial for you and your family to have an emergency plan and supplies ready to go for any type of disaster.

In Norfolk, we see many different disasters, including flooding, heavy rains, snow, hurricanes, and even tornadoes. So, make your plan personal; no matter what disaster strikes, you will be ready. 

Getting Ready

When gathering items for your supply to-go kit, the rule of thumb is to have enough food, water, personal hygiene items, and other essential supplies on hand for at least 72 hours. If you plan to shelter in place, it's recommended that you have at least a two week supply of essential items.

A preparedness supply kit is simply a collection of essential items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Preparedness Supply Kit Essentials

  • Water - Remember, you will need one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
  • Medications
  • Food – You will need at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods per person. Don’t forget about the manual can opener!
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Whistle and flares to signal for help
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Tent
  • Compass
  • Tools, such as wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers
  • Personal hygiene items – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine supplies, etc.
  • Medical items, such as EpiPen, insulin, syringes, or other medical items needed for your family
  • Sturdy shoes, such as boots or closed-toed shoes
  • Cash – Small bills only, and place in a waterproof container
  • Local maps
  • Warm blankets, winter coats, and rain gear
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Paper and pencil
  • Games for your children
  • Disinfectant
  • Medicine dropper
  • Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Pet supplies - food, water, leash, water/food bowl, treats, chew toys, and kennel.

Remember – it's important to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. If you wait, you will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

COVID-19 Considerations

COVID-19 is putting a different spin on how we should supply our preparedness kits. Here are some additional considerations to add to your supply kit concerning COVID-19:

  • Thermometer
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and face shields
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Over the counter medicines such as fever reducers, cough suppressants, and saline nose spray. If you have children, make sure you have appropriate medicine for them, as it may differ from what adults need. Always consult with your family physician. 
  • Electrolyte drinks
  • Hand soap
  • Tissues
  • Have a notebook handy to write down the sick person’s temperature and symptoms, updating daily
  • Contact information for your family physician

 For more information on how to keep you and your family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, or steps to take if you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at vdh.virginia.gov


Assembling Your Supply Kit

After you’ve gathered all your disaster supplies, it’s time to assemble your kit. Place each item into a sturdy, waterproof container. Then, store your container in a place that can be easily accessed in an emergency, like a closet near the front door or near your garage.

Be Ready

While the chances of needing an emergency kit are relatively low, you don’t want to be caught unprepared when a disaster occurs. Don’t let another extreme weather season pass you by without getting your emergency supplies organized and ready to go.

Finally, remember by building an emergency preparedness supply kit today, you and your family can be better prepared for tomorrow's risks.

For more information, visit our website at https://www.norfolk.gov/648/Threats-Hazards

Be safe and have a great week,


Daniel Hudson, Deputy EM Coordinator
Norfolk Emergency Preparedness & Response