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Spring Cleaning with Red Cross: Survival Kit Edition

First Aid Kit

If you plan to welcome the new season with spring cleaning or other related tasks, consider adding a survival kit to your list of things to do. The American Red Cross has tips to follow to ensure your kit is equipped. Whether it’s refreshing an existing kit or building a whole new kit with items from around the home, now is the perfect time to create space in your basement, car or other storage area for a potentially life-saving resource.

Start with this list of what to include:

  • HEALTH AND NUTRITION: If you’re creating an at-home survival kit, collect a 2-week supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day) and food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items). Make sure your 7-day supply of medications are not expired, or add new medications and medical items. In fact, put together and include a full first aid kit. Finally, throw in sanitation and personal hygiene items to stay healthy and clean.
  • TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY: A flashlight and battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) will both come in handy for power outages and weather emergencies. Include back-up power for everything in your kit, like extra batteries and cell phone chargers. A multi-purpose tool is always handy as well for unexpected situations.
  • PERSONAL INFORMATION AND CONTACTS: Even if phone numbers are typically stored in your cell phone, print a list of family and emergency contact information. Create copies of your personal documents and secure them in the kit, such as a medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, the deed or lease to your home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • OTHER SURVIVAL ITEMS: Instead of giving away extra blankets you discover during spring cleaning, toss them in your survival kit as an emergency blanket. Add extra cash and maps of your area to complete the basics of a survival kit.
  • Consider all possible situations and the needs of all family members. Remember special medical supplies, baby or pet supplies, and items based on the types of disasters common to your area such as tools and supplies for securing your home. If you think things such as gummy worms and your remote control should be included, check out this video on what not to include in your disaster safety kit.

    For more preparedness lists and resources, explore the Plan and Prepare section on the Red Cross website.

    For more in the series, read about spring cleaning your schedule and skills.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.