National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Assignment: Build a Preparedness Kit

(Instructions for Activity Leader)

As part of your lesson on safety and preparedness, you should build a kit with the collective group, discussing the purpose of the different items that are added. Based on the student’s new standing as certified Young Meteorologists, the instructor will engage the group in what could happen during various weather hazards experienced in the game and as a result, what might they need in a kit.  The instructor will collect the student responses and begin unloading an assembled Preparedness Kit to see if the items the students identified are included in the kit.  The instructor and students will then identify which items were missing from the kit and discuss what is needed.  

The group will rebuild the kit based on the list provided to included all items. If any of the items have expiration dates, you should note them on a piece of paper that will be stored with the kit so that you can replace them when needed. If you are in a classroom or recreational building setting, this kit could be kept on site. If you are a scout leader or do not have a specific location that your group meets, this could be your own home preparedness kit that you are using for demonstration.

Below is the full list of recommended items to include in a Preparedness Kit. For the purposes of this assignment, your students are only required to gather items in bold to put in each kit, but a truly complete kit would include all of these materials. It would be best if you, as the instructor, went through all of the items instead of just the items in bold. Most of these items listed in bold should be easily found around the house to keep the cost of assembling this kit minimal. The idea is that whether you are trapped in your home or forced to evacuate, as long as you have this kit in your possession, you will be prepared.

To get credit for completing this assignment, students must do the following:

  1. Put together a preparedness kit.
  2. Show the completed kit to the instructor in person or take a picture with all of the items in his or her kit and turn that into the instructor (i.e. all materials must be visible in the picture).
  3. Answer the questions at the bottom of the worksheet.
    Note: if you have siblings in your group, they don’t necessarily need separate kits. Just ensure that there are enough supplies for your entire family.

Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:

  • Backpack or storage tub to hold your supplies
  • Bottled Water
    • 1 gallon per person is recommended
  • Non-Perishable food
    • If including canned foods, you must include a can opener
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First Aid Supplies
    • Bandages
    • Ointment
    • Disinfectant wipes
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper and bags with ties for personal sanitation
  • Paper and pen or pencil (to take notes, play games, etc)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (recommend one for each person in your home)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Personal hygiene items (travel size deodorant, cotton swabs, feminine items, etc)
  • Whistle to Signal for help
  • Important documents (identification, insurance information, banking information, wills, etc)
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
  • Battery powered radio and a NOAA Weather radio
  • Formula and diapers (if there is an infant in the house)
  • Extra pet food (if there are pets in the house)
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Cups and utensils
  • A change of clothes for each person in your home (if you live in a cooler climate make sure the clothes are warm!)
    • Also include a jacket, hat, gloves and closed toe shoes for walking (boots or sturdy sneakers are best)
  • Rain gear
  • Cash
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Cards or game (it is important to have something to do to take your mind off the situation for a few moments or alleviate stress if you will be in your shelter for an extended time)
Questions that you should discuss with the group after putting together the kit.
Talking points are provided for some, though most questions are to spark conversation.
  1. Where in your home will you store your preparedness kit? Why?
    • The best place to store the kit is somewhere that you will go to take shelter (basement, interior room/closet, etc.)
    • It should also be kept easily accessible (i.e. don’t bury it under other boxes or tubs) so that if you do need to evacuate your home, you can easily grab the kit and put it in the car to go with you to your next shelter.
  2. What items do you think are most important and why?
    • This question is very subjective and more to spark conversation.
    • It is good to discuss all of the items on the list, not just the highlighted items recommended for this activity.
  3. What items in your kit expire?
    • Go through these items with the group. Make a list of each item’s expiration date and tape the list to the lid of your kit.
    • Let the group know that you should check your kit at least once every 6 months to ensure that all items are still up to date. When something expires it should be replaced immediately.
  4. In what situations would you take shelter in your classroom or school?
    • Discuss different disasters such as thunderstorms or flood events where students may be kept in their classrooms instead of being allowed to go outside. You should also discuss other events such as tornadoes that may require them to go to a shelter outside of the classroom.  
  5. In what situations would you need to leave your classroom or school to be safe?
    • Discuss different disasters that might cancel school such as winter storms or hurricanes. Explain that sometimes based on the weather forecast students may be sent home early to make sure they do not end up trapped at school due to poor road conditions. Early dismissals are becoming common with increased severe weather threats as well so this is another aspect you can discuss with students.
  6. How would this kit be helpful if your home was impacted by a flood/tornado/hurricane/etc?
    • Having all your materials in one place and storing them in your shelter location means that you don’t have to worry about getting prepared when a warning is issued. You’re already prepared and can just focus on getting yourself to your shelter.