Each of us knows that natural disasters and emergencies can happen at any time. We also know we should be prepared and most of us think we are, having some extra water in the house, or some extra cans of tuna around. But it’s not enough. Regardless of where you live, and whether you live alone, with roommates or families, we all need to make sure we have taken the steps to make sure our family will have the supplies we need should anything happen. Here are the basic things you will need to set up an emergency supply kit which should get you prepared sufficiently in case of an emergency.
Things you will need: Each step will map out the items you will need for your kit.
Water: Experts recommend setting aside one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Have enough water on hand for 4-7 days. You may want to adjust this number up if you have children, nursing mothers, or anyone chronically ill as they may need more water. In addition, if you live in a warmer climate, you may want more water on hand.
Food: You will want at least three to seven days of food on hand. Collect non-perishable, easy to prepare food that can be eaten warm or cold as you may not be able to cook. Don’t just assume you can eat what’s left in your cabinets as what’s usually left are things you don’t like. An emergency is a stressful time. Pack food that is healthy, comforting, and liked. Canned meats, fruits and veggies are a great start. Snack bars, granola, peanut butter and nuts, canned juices and milk are all great. Comfort foods like chocolate and cookies can be a good extra. MRE meals have everything you may need, check them out. If you have a baby or someone with special dietary needs, don’t forget to pack for them. Also include cups, plates and plastic utensils for eating. And of course, pack your manual can opener!
Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
First Aid Kit: Every household has some sort of first aid kit. Create one for your emergency kit and keep this up to date. Go through your first aid kit monthly to replace items you have used or that have expired. The basics you should have are: A first aid manual, a few pairs of sterile gloves, gauze pads, soap and antibiotic spray or ointment, burn ointment, bandages, eye wash, aspirin or other pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medicine, laxatives, and scissors. Also, include a small supply of the prescription medication and medical supplies you and/or your household members take everyday along with an extra copy of the prescription. Make sure to also include personal hygiene products such as women’s sanitary napkins or tampons.
For securing your home, pack plastic tarps and duct tape, dust masks, a wrench and pliers for turning off utilities. (As a note, some utility companies recommend pre-setting your wrench or pliers to the bolt sizes and hanging them near the utilities you will need to shut off so there is no confusion.) You should also have in your home a fire extinguisher, waterproof matches, a set of basic tools, and a whistle to signal for help. Household chlorine bleach to be used as a disinfectant if needed (9 parts water to one part bleach).
To keep clean and for use in personal sanitation, some moist towelettes, plastic bags, and tires or rubberbands should be kept on hand.
Clothing and bedding: At the very least, keep one complete change of clothing AND sturdy shoes for every person in the household. A coat, long pants/jeans, a long sleeve shirt, hat, and gloves are the absolute basics. Add sleeping bags or blankets as available.
If you live somewhere colder, add additional clothing items just to be safe.
Money: Have some cash in small bills, and ATM or credit cards available. Banks and electronics may be unavailable for a few days so have cash on hand to get you through.
Important Information: Have a copy of all important family documents such as ID’s, insurance policies, bank account information stored in a waterproof, portable container. You can drop a set of spare keys in the same container.
Don’t forget your pets! Make sure to have their ID’s, records, medications, leash and carrier, and sufficient food and water for them too!