Building an Office Emergency Preparedness Bag

We spend almost a third of our lives either at work, or commuting to work.  So it would make a lot of sense to be just as prepared in your office, as you are at home.

Being prepared During an Office Emergency

This is going to be completely up to you. As with every emergency kit or bag, some basics should be included, but you can personalize it to your situation. Here’s a list to get you started:

Bottled Water

First and foremost. Yes, you may have access to running water for a bit, but odds are, if this is a serious emergency, water access may not always be available, especially if it is run with a pumping system. In this case, I prefer bottled water to water packets simply because they can be refilled if a good source is found. In addition to bottled water, include a water filter so that you can refill that bottle with whatever water is available after you've drank it and still have access to drinking water. 


Whether you prefer protein or carbs (quick energy), keep a small supply of foods in case you are trapped in your office space for awhile and don’t have access to vending machines. 


I carry a flashlight with me at all times, but if you don't its a great tool to keep in your bag or desk drawer for emergency use. Our tactical flashlight is extremely versatile with its zoom capability and its practically indestructible. 


I’m not suggesting you set your office ablaze, but there could be several circumstances where you are without heat for an extended amount of time in a building lock down, and if you do have the ability to create warmth through a fire, you’ll need a lighter or other fire starting tool to help you do so. But please be safe with this one. You can use blankets and and hand warmers to keep you warm. If you have the space to do it, store an extra sweatshirt/sweater at the office during the winter months.

First Aid Kit

Your office should have a first aid kit in a break room or bathroom of at least every floor if not a few of them. But can you be sure it’s been properly stocked? Be sure it includes an Emergency Blanket - Not only good for you if your weather is cold, but if you get wet or someone is in shock, having a blanket can really help. While you may be tempted to buy a bunch of $1 blankets, invest in a good blanket. It will serve you well and be less likely to tear.


Backup of necessarily medicines that you take on a daily basis. You don’t want to be stuck not having the medicine you typically take once you get home if you end up having to spend the night.

Particle Masks 

You can use a basic dust mask or go with something a little more beefy like an N95 particle mask. But you want something to help cover your nose/mouth if the emergency involves dust and flying particles and/or smoke. You can use a hankerchief, but a dust mask is just as easy to store in your box.


If you are stuck in a portion of the building that has collapsed from an earthquake, for example, you'll want a whistle that you can use to let emergency rescuers hear you.

Burner phone

Having a back up phone is a great idea. If your phone is dead, having a backup burner at least gets you to 911. Just use an old cell phone, keep it charged, and you can still get to emergency services. You can use a walkie-talkie in this instance, too, which might also be able to pick up emergency chatter to let you keep track of news. If you want to take it a step further, get a weather radio with emergency bands.


You might not want to have the most expensive Leatherman in your desk drawer all the time, but having a multi tool in a time of need can be a lifesaver. Credit card multi tools are great to keep on your person.

Extra pair of shoes

Can you imagine walking down 95 flights of stairs in your heels or barefoot? Keep an extra pair of shoes on hand to change into, if you can, and save yourself a lot of trouble!

A copy of the emergency escape route 

This might be really handy to have, especially if you are new. This is something you should familiarize yourself with before an event, but having a copy with you that you can pull out of a bag might just save your life in knowing which way to go on in a large office environment.

Work Gloves/Goggles

Especially if you are an in an earthquake prone region, this is something you might want to have to protect your hands and your eyes if you have to make your way out of a building after collapse.


What non-Emergency Items can you put in an Office Emergency Kit?

If you want to go a little less straightforward and have an everyday office emergency kit in your desk drawer, make sure to keep some of these on hand as well:

  • Sewing Kit 
  • Stain Removal Pen
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Safety pins
  • Hand lotion
  • Nail clippers
  • Duct tape
  • Contact lens solution/case/extra glasses



Sources: Mom with a Prep

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