2. Create an Emergency Supply Kit

After a major disaster the usual services we take for granted, such as running water, electricity, refrigeration, cell phone service, Internet, operating gas stations and ATMs may be unavailable. 

Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of three days. But with the island geography of the Keys, residents should plan on being self-sufficient for a week or more. Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container you can move easily. A large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels works well.

A basic emergency supply kit should include:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Non-perishable food in cans or sealed containers
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First-Aid kit and instructions
  • Prescription medicines (have a 2-week supply on hand)
  • A copy of important documents and phone numbers
  • Emergency cash in small denominations 
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Water purifying kit
  • Matches and lighters
  • A camping stove and/or grill with fuel, canned heat and/or charcoal bricks and starter fluid
  • Fire extinguisher and a box of baking soda
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer and nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench, and bungee cords.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Battery-operated radio, NOAA weather radio
  • Cell phone with a portable charger
  • Any special-needs items for children, infants, seniors or people with disabilities
  • Sunscreen and bug/mosquito spray
  • Water and supplies for your pets

*Remember to never cook with charcoal and gas grills inside, or run generators indoors!


A go-bag is a disaster kit put together with the following items in a backpack or other easy-to-carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. 

Each family member should have an identifiable go-bag. Additional supplies should also be kept in your car and at work.

A Basic Go-Bag Should Include:

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio 
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations 
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes and towels
  • Local map
  • Water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper, and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, contacts, hearing aids or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and First-Aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities
  • Don’t forget to make a Go-Bag for your pets