Emergency Preparedness

READYColorado is a public awareness campaign supported by public and private partners concerned with homeland security and all-hazards preparedness.

Its goal is to raise awareness about the importance of disaster preparedness among Colorado citizens. To achieve this, READYColorado is reaching out to individuals, families, neighborhoods and businesses to provide them with the tools and information they need to respond to and recover from any disaster.

For a list of agencies and organizations involved in the READYColorado initiative, click on the adjacent Partners link.

72-Hour Family Emergency Kit (Click here for a printer-friendly version)

The 72-Hour Emergency Kit should be individually tailored to meet the basic survival needs of your family for three days to a week. Most families prefer to store their emergency supplies in one location that is relatively safe, yet easily accessible if evacuation is required. Items may be stored in a 32-gallon trash can, suitcase, duffle bag, backpack, footlocker, or individual pack.

The items under Emergency Needs are recommended for your kit.

Emergency Needs

  • Battery Powered Radio
  • First Aid Kit & Manual
  • Sleeping Bags & Blankets (wool & thermal)
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Waterproof/Windproof Matches
  • Non-Perishable Foods
  • Flashlight
  • Water Storage (1 gal./day)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Utility Knife
  • Emergency Candles
  • Extra Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses
  • Essential Medications
  • Extra Clothing

Suggested non-perishable food items: Ready-to-eat goods in unbreakable containers, canned meats, juice, fruits & vegetables, powdered milk, infant care foods, crackers, peanut butter, freeze-dried & dehydrated goods.

Sanitation Kit

  • Plastic Bucket w/Tightly Fitted Lid
  • Plastic Bags & Ties
  • Disinfectant
  • Improvised Toilet Seat
  • Paper Cups & Plates
  • Personal Toiletries
  • Baby Supplies
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Personal Hygienic Needs
  • Plastic Utensils
  • Soap

Other Emergency Needs

  • Pen & Paper
  • Money
  • Address & Phone Numbers
  • Work Gloves
  • Basic Tools

Standard First Aid Kit

  • First Aid Manual
  • Aspirin or Pain Relievers
  • Laxatives
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Diarrhea Medicine
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Soap
  • Salt
  • Gauze
  • Band-aid
  • Triangular Bandage (36"x36"x52")
  • Elastic Bandage
  • Cotton Balls
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Safety Pins
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
  • Sanitary Napkins (Pressure Dressing)
  • Disposable Diapers (Dressing/ Splint/Padding)
  • Micropore Adhesive, Paper Tape
  • Matches
  • Needles
  • Tweezers
  • Small Splints, Popsicle Sticks
  • Heavy String
  • Syrup of Ipecac
  • Individual Medical Needs
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tsp. soda + 1 tsp. salt + 1 qt. water for shock)

Car Survival Kit

  • Always Maintain at Least 1/2 Tank of Gas
  • First Aid Kit & Manual
  • Class ABC Fire Extinguisher
  • Radio & Batteries
  • Non-Perishable Food Stored in Coffee Can
  • Bottled Water
  • Bag of Sand, Shovel & Tools
  • Blankets or Sleeping Bags
  • Sundry Kit, Paper & Pencil, Map, Tissues, Premoistened Towels, Plastic Bags, Essential Medications
  • Flashlights & Batteries
  • Reflectors & Flares
  • Waterproof Matches & Candles
  • Jumper Cables
  • Short Rubber Hose for Siphoning
  • Shovel

Make Copies of All Legal Papers

  • Marriage License
  • House Mortgage
  • Vacation Home / Property Ownership
  • Automotive Ownership
  • Motor Home Ownership
  • Wills
  • Jewelry Appraisals
  • Drivers Licenses
  • Trailers, Snowmobiles, Boat Ownerships
  • Insurance Policies
  • Bank Accounts

When Assembling Emergency Supplies for the Household, Include Items for Pets

  • Extra food (The food should be dry and relatively unappealing to prevent overeating. Store the food in sturdy containers.)
  • Kitty litter
  • Large capacity self-feeder and water dispenser
  • Extra medications

How to Store Water

Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances.

Emergency Outdoor Water Sources

If you need to find water outside your home, you can use these sources. Be sure to purify the water by:

  • Boiling
  • Disinfection (household liquid bleach: 16 drops/gal. of water, stir & let stand 30 min.)
  • Distillation (boil 2 pot water & collect the vapor by tying a cup to the upside down pot lid - the cup shouldn't dangle in the water--it will condense back to water in the cup)


  • Rainwater
  • Streams, rivers & other moving bodies of water
  • Ponds & lakes
  • Natural Springs

Establish an Out-Of-State 24-Hour Telephone Contact

  • Calls out will not overload phone lines as will calls coming into a disaster area.
  • All relatives should be informed now on procedures to call the phone contact, not after a disaster has occurred. Individual location and status should be requested.
  • Take color pictures of every room plus pictures of valuables. Send one copy of legal papers and one copy of pictures to an out-of-state contact.

Plan How Your Family Will Stay in Contact if Separated by Disaster

Pick two meeting places:

  1. a location a safe distance from your home in case of fire
  2. a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home

Other Considerations

  • Stock supplies to last several days to a week for each family member.
  • Be prepared to relocate to a shelter during a prolonged power outage.
  • Have extra cash on hand in case electronic transactions (ATM card, credit cards, etc.) cannot be processed.
  • Work with your family in talking about the steps each needs to take to be ready if disaster happens.

Meet with Neighbors

Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know you neighbors' skills (medical, technical). Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.

Contact Your Local Emergency Management Office - Click here for a list of local emergency managers in Colorado

  • Find out which disasters are most likely to happen in your community.
  • Ask how you would be warned.

Preparedness is everyone's job. Not just government agencies but all sectors of society -- service providers, businesses, civic and volunteer groups, industry associations and neighborhood associations, as well as every individual citizen should plan ahead for disaster.

During the first few hours or days following a disaster, essential services may not be available.

People must be ready to act on their own.

Click here for a print-ready version of this kit information.

For information about federal, state and local agency roles in the event of a disaster, click on the adjacent Disaster Response 101 link.




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