If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that natural disasters can occur at any time. From hurricanes and flooding, to raging wildfires, natural disasters can misplace families for extended periods of time. Now more than ever, it is important to make sure that you and your family are prepared for these types of events. Whether you decide to use a “go bag”, suitcase, or a plastic storage tote, these are some of the essentials that should be included in any emergency kit.
10. Change of clothes and sturdy shoes
Disaster can occur at any time and could misplace you from your home for several days. Having a change of clothes helps to ensure that you’re prepared no matter what you were doing when the event occurred. Nobody wants to be stuck in a suit or high heels in an emergent situation.
9. Pet food and supplies
It’s important not to forget pets during an emergency. Include a big freezer bag of dry pet food and a couple plastic bowls in your kit. Additionally, you could include an extra leash or carrier with your emergency kit.
8. Flashlights and extra batteries
In the case of widespread power outages, flashlights are essential. High quality flashlights will be brighter and use up batteries less quickly.
If power grids are down, credit card machines can’t run and everyone will be trying to get to ATMs for cash. Keep an emergency fund of cash tucked away with your emergency kit and you’ll feel more at ease.
6. Crank or battery powered radio
For the same reasons as above, if power or cell service is out, crank radios are useful to listen for any emergency broadcasts. Crank radios are ideal because they do not need any additional batteries.
5. Fire starter
If you are stranded in the wilderness without shelter, a fire is important for many reasons. Fires provide heat, light, and a way to heat food if needed. Pack a lighter, matches, or other fire starter items in your kit.
4. Cell phone charging cords and external chargers
If you’re in a hurry, you may forget to grab your charging cords. By having an extra one in your kit you won’t have to worry about losing contact abilities with family members or emergency responders. External portable chargers are a bonus item in case of power outages or lack of power source. Just make sure to charge those first and pack their own charging cords.
3. First Aid kit
One of the most important items for your emergency kit is a first aid kit. Be sure that it includes bandages of all kinds, single use ice packs, tweezers, pain killers and other over-the-counter medications that you may need, as well as antibiotic ointments. You can also include moist towelettes or wipes for personal hygiene purposes.
The Department of Homeland Security states that a 3 day supply of food should be included in an emergency kit. Make sure the food is non-perishable and has good nutritional content. Canned meats and fish, protein filled granola bars, dry cereal or granola, and peanut butter are great staples to add. Comfort foods, also non-perishable, can be included because these events are stressful and anything that can bring comfort is a plus. Don’t forget the can opener!
Water is the most important part of any survival or emergency kit. The Department of Homeland Security dictates that you should have one gallon of clean water per person per day. Gallon jugs or cases of bottled water are great, but there are also portable water filtration straws available at most sporting goods stores.
As mentioned before, natural disasters and emergencies happen without warning. Make sure you and your family are prepared and create your own custom emergency kit using these important items.