A home emergency preparedness kit is the sort of thing no one wants to need, but everyone should have. Putting together a kit with all the essential supplies ensures that you will be ready in case disaster strikes your area.
Your kit should be stored in a durable, easy-to-carry bag or suitcase. Place it in an accessible area, and make sure everyone in your home knows what’s in it and where it is. Be sure to include all of the following items:
- Water: Clean water is essential both for drinking and sanitation, so include one gallon per day for each member of your household for at least three days. Bottled water is ideal, but you can also store tap water in sanitized two-liter soda bottles.
- Food: Your kit should include enough nonperishable food to last three days. Canned goods are ideal – don’t forget the can-opener – and trail mixes, cereal bars and candy bars are also good additions. Focus on proteins, fruits and vegetables.
- First-aid supplies: Include bandages and sterile dressings, burn ointment, antibiotic ointment and towelettes, soap, eye wash, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, two pairs of sterile gloves, aspirin or another pain-reliever, petroleum jelly, a laxative, and a stomach analgesic like Pepto-Bismol or Tums.
- Sanitation and hygiene items: Pack paper towels, toilet paper, sealed moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, garbage bags and plastic ties. Additional optional additional items include toothbrushes, toothpaste, travel-sized deodorant and shampoo.
- Flashlights and extra batteries: Make sure the batteries you pack match your flashlights. Avoid candles, as they can create a fire hazard.
- Radio or TV: A small battery- or crank-operated TV or radio will help you stay connected if the power goes out. If you choose a battery-powered model, be sure to pack extra batteries.
- Cash: Include at least $100 in cash.
- Additional items: Useful extras include duct tape, dust masks, a signal whistle, a cell phone charger and a few small toys or games for kids.
You can also tailor your home emergency preparedness kit to your specific needs and the demands of the area you live in. For example, it’s wise to include additional water if you live in a hot climate, or warm blankets if your area is prone to cold weather. Check and update your kit regularly, replacing items like old batteries and food that has passed its expiration date.