Build a Kit

Local officials and relief workers will be a on the scene during an emergency, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, and telephones may be cut off for days or even longer. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency and putting together an emergency kit will help you do just that. For an organization or community presentation about putting together an emergency preparedness kit, contact the Public Health Emergency Preparedness coordinator at 503-366-3929.

Emergency Kits

For your home

A home emergency kit should contain enough items to last for at least two weeks and up to one month. Because putting together an emergency kit for your home can be an overwhelming task, Weekly Steps for Emergency Preparedness can be used as a week-by-week shopping guide for the items you need. Here are some suggested items for your emergency kit:

Be 2Weeks Ready! →

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – a supply of non-perishable food, baby formula, snacks and a can opener
  • NOAA Weather Radio or small personal radio that is hand crank or battery powered
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries for flashlights, radio, hearing aids, etc.
  • Extra pair of glasses or a magnifying glass
  • First aid kit that includes extra prescription medications (at least 2 weeks)
  • Toiletries and sanitation items
  • Tool set that includes tools to turn off your utilities
  • Dust mask, gloves, sturdy shoes or boots and protective clothing
  • Local maps
  • Cash in small bills and quarters for phone calls
  • Cell phone with chargers


A Go-Kit is a portable version of your home emergency kit that you have ready to take with you if you need to evacuate your home. It is a good idea to have one Go-Kit per person and your pet(s) and have it placed in a location that is easy to access if you have to leave quickly. Below are some suggested items for your kit. Starred (*) items should be included in an adult’s kit and may not be necessary for a children’s kit.

  • Backpack or easy to carry container
  • Flashlight
  • Radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Pocket knife*
  • Cash in small bills and quarters for phone calls*
  • Change of clothes with sturdy shoes that are weather appropriate
  • Local map*
  • Portable water bottle (bottled or water packets)
  • Non-perishable food or snacks
  • Photos of family members and pets for identification
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • First aid kit including extra prescription medications and a list of allergies
  • Copies of identification, medication prescriptions and health insurance cards
  • Copies of important financial documents
  • Toiletries and sanitation products
  • Extra house and vehicle keys*
  • Activities, games or comfort items for children

For Your Pets

Your pets are important members of your household and they will need an emergency supply kit as well.

Learn about suggested items for an emergency kit for your pets provided by the Humane Society →

For Your Commute

Whether you are commuting by car, bicycle, bus, train or on foot, it is always a good idea to have a portable emergency kit available. Learn about suggested items for commuter kits. 

Emergency kit information→

Commuter emergency plan information→

  • Car emergency kit including tire chains, jumper cables, flashlight and flares
  • Weather appropriate change of clothing and sturdy shoes in case you need to walk
  • Bottled water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • List of medications and toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer
  • Map of the local area
  • List of alternate travel routes
  • Emergency contact information
  • Also see ODOT’s Winter Travel Information 

Be Prepared

Read about how to be "2-Weeks" Ready! → 

Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Michael Paul
Phone Numbers
General Public Health Inquiries and 24-hour Emergency Contact: 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00