Emergency kit

A well prepared basic emergency kit will help you to be ready for all types of emergencies.

Add to or modify your kit to suit your own household needs. Consider:

  • disasters likely to occur in your area
  • caring for young children, and people with health-related issues or a disability.

Include items in your kit to last at least three days in a disaster as emergency services may not be able to assist straight away and power and water supplies may be interrupted or cut off.

Organise your kit

Store your kit in sturdy and easy-to-carry waterproof bags or containers.

Keep your kit in a handy place, known to everyone in the household.

As part of your emergency plan make a list of items in your emergency kit. For practical reasons you'll need to add some items at the time of the emergency - eg medications, portable cooking stove. Make sure these extra items are somewhere handy and make a note of the location on your list.

Maintenance of your kit

Check your emergency kit regularly.

Make sure that all items on the checklist are accounted for.

Check and replace batteries every six months if necessary.

Emergency kit items

Use these suggestions to work out what you need in your emergency kit.

Food and water

Clean drinking water in sealed containers - at least three litres per person, per day.

Water to wash and cook - at least two litres per person, per day.

Water can be stored for up to 12 months in airtight containers.

Food supplies that:

  • won't spoil and don't require refrigeration
  • can be prepared with little or no water
  • require minimal preparation and cooking time
  • are compact and light-weight, especially if you'll need to carry them. Suggestions include:
    • ready-to-eat canned or bottled food
    • dried and long-life food
    • snack food
    • food for special diets.

Equipment and tools

  • portable radio and torches - battery-powered, solar or wind-up
  • spare batteries
  • lantern for indoor use
  • portable barbeque or stove with fuel
  • cooking and eating utensils including a can opener
  • waterproof matches
  • rubbish bags
  • pen and paper
  • street directory or map – in case you need to drive to unfamiliar areas
  • whistle – in case you need to attract attention or call for help
  • basic tool kit
  • suitable fire extinguisher and fire blanket.

Personal items

  • cash - in case ATMs and banks aren't operating
  • protective clothing and footwear - long sleeved shirt and long pants, wide-brimmed hat, sturdy gloves and boots
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • toiletries - soap, toilet paper, sanitary items
  • spare house and car keys.

Babies and small infants

  • food, formula and drink
  • change of clothing and nappies
  • favourite toy and activity - to make children feel safe and keep them busy.

Evacuating with a baby? Here's what to put in your emergency kit - The Conversation.

First aid

First aid kit including protective clothing such as disposable gloves and face masks.


Keep originals and copies of important documents in a safe place.

Copies can be stored on a CD, USB memory stick or in the cloud.

Pet supplies

If you have pets, the RSPCA South Australia website has information about preparing your pet emergency kit.

Last-minute items

When you are getting ready to leave add:

  • mobile phone and power supply/recharger
  • medications and prescriptions
  • extra first aid supplies - eg sunscreen, insect repellent
  • extra blankets, pillows and camping air or foam mattresses
  • several changes of clothes
  • bank cards and credit cards
  • extra toiletries - eg toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoo
  • valuables - eg family photos, jewellery, mementos
  • important cards and documents
  • reading glasses and spare contact lenses
  • games and toys.

Leaving in a hurry

If you need to get out quickly take a few essential items including:

  • sturdy shoes that are comfortable for walking
  • water and snacks
  • medications and prescriptions
  • important cards and documents
  • extra clothes to suit the emergency and weather conditions - eg lightweight raincoat and hat
  • torch
  • radio
  • whistle.

Storing water

Store water before a disaster occurs, as in an emergency, the water supply might be disrupted or be unsafe to drink.

You'll need at least three litres of clean drinking water and two litres of water for washing and cooking per person, per day.

How to store water

The safest and most reliable emergency water supply is sealed, commercially bottled water, stored in its original container and not opened until needed.

If you decide to use your own containers it is best to purchase food-grade water storage containers:

  1. clean with dishwashing soap and water
  2. rinse with water until no soap remains
  3. fill with tap water until overflowing
  4. secure the lid tightly
  5. label the outside of the containers with ‘Drinking water’ and the date when they were filled and when they need refilling.

If you want to use recycled drink containers choose plastic soft drink bottles:

  1. clean with dishwashing soap and water
  2. rinse with water
  3. add a solution of one teaspoon of liquid household non-scented chlorine bleach to four cups of water and swish over all interior surfaces of the container
  4. rinse thoroughly with water
  5. fill with tap water until overflowing
  6. secure the lid tightly
  7. label the outside of the containers with ‘Drinking water’ and the date when they were filled and when they need refilling.

Avoid using containers that:

  • can't be sealed tightly
  • can break easily - eg glass bottles
  • have contained milk or fruit juice as these can't be properly cleaned
  • can leak - eg cardboard.

Where to store water

Keep stored water in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Avoid having water containers near hazardous materials such as petrol and pesticides as vapours can penetrate plastic.

Treating water

To keep water fresh tasting replace commercially bottled water according to the best-before date on the container. Your own water containers should be refilled every 6 to 12 months.

Once the water containers have been opened they should be refilled within one or two days.

If you're uncertain about the water quality don't drink it without treating it first.

Flood items


Have a few unfilled sandbags ready to block doorways, drains and toilets.

Keep a store of dry sand or soil to fill the sandbags.

Check with your local council if they will supply residents with empty sandbags in the event of a flood.

Keep a supply of plastic sheeting to use with sandbags to reduce floodwater seepage.


Have a supply of waterproof bags and plastic sheeting to store and protect items from floodwater.

Have clothing to keep warm and dry - eg waterproof coats, rubber gloves and rubber boots.

Utility outages items

  • access to a charged mobile phone
  • a mobile phone charger that works in the car
  • alternative lighting such as a torch or battery-operated lantern
  • alternative sources for cooking, heating and cooling
  • food that requires little or no cooking
  • a battery-powered radio to get updates on weather conditions and power outages
  • an alternative source of fresh water, if you use electricity to run a water pump.

Related information

Other websites

Emergency pack list - Red Cross

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Provided by: SAFECOM
Page last updated 21 October 2021

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