Disaster preparedness is not something we usually want to talk about, but if an emergency comes up, you’ll be happy that you took the time to prepare. There are always reports of man-made and natural disasters in the news. Fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods do occur often. Gas or water line breaks, or power outages during storms can happen, too. This list will get you started with a good emergency stockpile.
Include easy to prepare and non-perishable food items. Peanut butter, canned meats and other canned goods are good choices. Look at the water guidelines below to know how many days or weeks you should have on hand.
One gallon per person, per day, is the general guideline for water. In case of an evacuation you want a supply to last two or three days. You always want to keep a two week supply on hand in your house, as you may be stranded inside your home if a catastrophe strikes.
Hopefully you already have a first-aid kit in your home and in the car. Check your kit from time to time to make sure nothing in it has expired since you last used it or checked it. A good idea is to put a kit together (or buy one) annually. That way everything is fresh and you can always use up the supplies in the old kit, or donate the items to charity.
FLASHLIGHTS & RADIO
Make sure to use a hand cranked or battery-powered flashlight. Radios should always run off battery power, but make sure you always have extra batteries stored nearby as well.
Try to keep enough in your emergency stash to last one or two weeks.
Try not to let your prescriptions run out before you refill them. A good rule of thumb is to keep seven days of any prescribed medications on hand. You may also want to stock a spare bottle of pain reliever.
MOBILE PHONES & CHARGERS
Get one or two portable chargers. Once charged, these will generally give you two to three recharges for your cell phone. Everyone in the family should have their own, but keep phone use to minimum, since you don’t know how long you may be stuck without power.
It is an absolute necessity to have copies saved of your important documents. A fire safe is worth buying, but feel free to use any container that is portable and you can grab in a hurry. You should make copies of your ID, property deeds, medications, insurance policies, birth certificates and passports. It is a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts, too. Choose an out-of-area contact that your whole family can call in case you are separated from each other.
Keep some extra cash on hand at all times. The amount will depend on your own situation and what you think you might need to last a week or more. A good benchmark is enough money for a week’s grocery bill.
You will want to have a manual can opener, knife (Swiss Army Knife is good), utensils and a mini toolkit.
ODDS AND ENDS
If you have a baby, make sure to have extra items on hand that you might need. The same goes for any pets you have at home. Spare glasses, contacts, hearing aid batteries, blankets and even an extra set of car keys are also good to keep available.
Be ready for any disaster or emergency situation that happens. Make up your emergency kit and stock up on supplies you might need. Make sure your family has an emergency plan, too. You may never have to use these things, but you will be glad you prepared if disaster strikes.