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Disaster Kits 101: Don’t tempt fate. Be prepared for what any event may throw your way!

By October 20, 2014September 14th, 2018Event Planning

CNV_DisasterKitBlog2_2014Disaster Kits. A term used by our founder and president Dusty Rhodes for an at-the-ready supply of items that will hopefully solve any impending disaster at an event. (BTW, it’s not “if” a possible disaster strikes, it’s “when.” Trust us. No matter how well you plan and how long you’ve been in the event business, these unforeseen challenges happen to all of us.)

Opinions may vary as to the components of a great disaster kit – and not every disaster kit is alike, just like no two events are alike. Here is a selection of some of our standards and a few of the outliers that we’ve come to rely on over the years.

Disaster Must-Haves:

  • Sharpies (permanent markers): In case you need to create an unforeseen crowd-control sign or make it very clear who has been crossed off a list.
  • Highlighters: When you need to isolate an extremely important name from the very important names via neon pink.
  • Tape(s) (especially heavy duty tape): Ask yourself this, “What would MacGyver do?” The answer: Always have at least one roll of significant adhesive close by.
  • A sharp blade: The honoree is minutes from taking the stage, and you’re backstage and cannot get the award out of the shipping box. If only you had a box cutter or some scissors…
  • Basic first-aid kit: There are so many moving parts at any event. Someone is bound to get a minor scrap, bruise or cut at some point. Be ready to treat it fast and move on.
  • Clipboard(s): Nothing says “I have all the answers” better than a clipboard. A professional looking binder or an iPad can also work, but it’s all in how you hold it.
  • Portable cleaning solutions: Because spilled beverages do not RSVP.
  • AA/AAA Batteries: For the overworked remote controls and wireless keyboards in your life.
  • Metal clips, paper clips, staples and binder clips: Those donation/pledge cards must stay together. Or do you want to stay until 2 a.m. searching for a lost one?
  • Rubber bands: A “wildcard” tool for sure. Whether it’s dividing your pens from your pencils or keeping your banners from unrolling, the rubber band is a necessary organizational device. Just don’t shoot them around the venue.

And then there are the not-so-standard items:

  • Steamer: Nothing looks worse than a row of wrinkled flags or banners across the back of the stage.
  • Extension chords and power strip: Ha! We moved the registration table ten feet away from the wall and that coveted outlet.
  • Zip ties: What? It wasn’t breezy during your walk-thru last week?
  • Trash bags: Always leave the venue in the same condition you found it in, if not better.
  • Label maker: That typo on your honoree’s husband’s name badge was fixed before he even stepped on the shuttle from the airport.
  • Easel: Unless you really want to pay someone to hold up a sign. And do you really think the venue wants you taping signs to its walls?
  • Sunblock: We love our Conventures polo shirts, but we hate a farmer’s tan.
  • Phone charger: Like you, your phone hasn’t had five minutes to rest. From supervising set-ups in the morning, to tracking down a late vendor in the afternoon, that phone needs to stay as charged-up as you are!

What’s in your disaster kit? Is there a special “disaster” item that you find indispensable?

Taylor Jacobs is an Account Coordinator and can be contacted at and 617-204-4214