Disasters, especially natural disasters like earthquakes or wildfires, can strike at any moment. Keeping an emergency kit ready to go in your home could help you stay safe when facing a disaster. Be prepared by putting together your emergency kit now before you need it.
Follow this simple checklist so you have everything you need in case of an emergency.
Emergency Food and Water Items
When disaster hits, the last thing you want is to be left without food or water. Having access to clean drinking water is important at any time, and even more so in an emergency. Your emergency kit should include enough water for three days, usually about a gallon a day per person. Store water in clean, clear plastic containers that can be sealed tight. Keep in mind that you may need more water if you live in drier areas, such as Southern California.
You should also store a three-day supply of non-perishable food items that can easily be packed and stored on the go. Keep disposable cups, plates and utensils with your food supply. A manual can opener is an essential tool for food in your emergency kit. Canned meats, fruits and vegetables should help keep your family going even if food is in short supply. Dry cereal and protein bars are also usually a good choice. Snacks and comfort foods that are non-perishable are also usually a good choice to help you get through the emotional stress of an emergency.
First Aid Kit Essentials
Risks of cuts, scrapes, burns and other injuries are increased in an emergency situation. You’ll want to make sure you have the proper supplies in your first aid kit to tackle any unexpected injury that could occur. For non-life-threatening injuries, it’s a good idea to know how to properly treat minor injuries to keep your family comfortable. Consider investing in a first aid training course so you’re prepared in an emergency situation.
Your first aid kit should include all the supplies you might need to treat minor wounds or stabilize more serious injuries. Your kit should include supplies for disinfecting wound sites and stopping bleeding, such as sterile gauze and antibiotic towels. Bandages, ointments and eyewash are also good to keep on hand. Fill your first aid kit with over the counter medication as well. You’ll probably need pain relievers, allergy medicine, anti-diarrhea medication or antacids sometime during your emergency.
Items to Provide Light, Power and Information
Most natural disaster come with power loss. Your emergency kit should account for the likelihood that you’ll lose the ability to use electricity at least for some time. Include items such as battery-powered flashlights, a crank radio and plenty of extra batteries in your kit. You may also want to consider solar-powered flashlights, but it’s still a good idea to keep a battery-powered light as a backup.
Staying connected to one another is a top priority for many in an emergency. While you may not have access to power during an emergency situation, your cell phone may still have a signal, or you may be able to use certain features on it to help yourself. Pack a fully-charged power bank and charging cables in your emergency kit.
Earthquakes can cause rubble to crash down on top of you. Wildfires can lead to unexpected mudslides that leave debris blocking you from exiting your home. In either situation, you need to be able to contact outside rescuers and let them know you’re there. Yelling will quickly cause you to lose your voice and energy. If you are unable to reach your phone or don’t have the ability to connect a call, a whistle is a simple, non-electrical solution. Blowing a whistle can help rescuers find you even if you’re trapped in a hard-to-find location.
Bedding and Clothing Items
Comfort may not be your top priority when an emergency situation arises. Having a comfortable place to sleep and clean clothes, however, can help you make more rational decisions during an emergency. Include in your emergency kit a sleeping bag or emergency blankets. These will help keep you warm in the event a disaster takes place in cooler temperatures. Even in warmer temperatures, an emergency blanket can help keep your calm during the shock of the situation.
Your clothes are probably going to get dirty as you deal with the emergency at hand. Pack at least one change of clothes per person for your group, including a change of close-toed shoes. A long jacket, long pants and rain gear are recommended for your change of clothing.
Taking Care of Special Needs
Disasters are difficult for everyone, but special attention should be paid to people with special needs. Children, infants, people with disabilities and the elderly are likely to have an even more difficult time adapting in an emergency situation than a healthy adult. Make sure your emergency kit includes items for the needs and comfort of special needs groups in your family. Infants, for example, should have diapers and plenty of formula in case of emergency. Many elderly people take daily medications, so be sure your elderly family members have a supply of their medicines.
Preparing now can help you if disaster strikes. Put your emergency kit together before you need it so you’ll be able to better keep your family safe in the event of an emergency.