Ing + McKee

Preparing a Home Emergency Kit

July 13, 2022

Being prepared before a natural disaster strikes is critical. Whether it’s a snowstorm, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, a disaster can leave your family suddenly without the essentials you need and use every day. That’s why putting together a home emergency kit is so important — it can help you get by until you get the help you need.

Here’s how you can create a home emergency kit that can bring you comfort and the essentials you need to survive a disaster.

Include necessary supplies

Most supplies in a home emergency kit are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Necessary and basic supplies you should have in your kit include:

  • Battery-powered radio (NOAA Weather Radio)
  • Cloth and/or dust masks for all family members
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Change of clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Extra batteries for a radio, flashlight and cellphones
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlight(s)
  • Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports and bank records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Garbage bags with ties
  • Manual can opener
  • Maps of your local area
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Moist towelettes, hand sanitizer and/or hand soap
  • Over-the-counter medicine such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, etc.
  • Paper cups, plates, towels, utensils for eating and prepping food
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to build a shelter if needed
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Three-day supply of nonperishable food like canned or dry foods
  • Water, one gallon per person, per day
  • Whistle
  • Wrench or pliers to help turn off utilities like gas or water

Think about the needs of each family member

In addition to the basic items needed for an emergency kit, you’ll need to include any specialty items that you or a  family member needs. These extra items can vary depending on your household and may include:

  • Books, games or puzzles to entertain children who may feel anxious or scared
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Infant formula and other baby supplies such as diapers and wipes
  • Necessary prescription medicines, like insulin, anti-seizure medicines or other drugs
  • Pet food and additional water for any pets
  • Spare eyeglasses and/or contact lens solution and cases

Keep your kit up-to-date

With any luck, you won’t have to use your emergency kit. Still, it’s important that you keep all the items in the kit up-to-date, so it’s ready for use. Review the contents of your emergency kit at the beginning of your area’s severe weather season or make a note on the calendar to review its contents on Daylight Savings Time.

To keep your kit current and the items safe for use, you should:

  • Check expiration dates on all food items. Replace any expired foods.
  • Check expiration dates on all medicines and replace expired medicines.
  • Check for any additional recommended items you should add to your kit.
  • Update the kit according to your family’s changing needs and clothing sizes.

Keep your kit close by

The best place to keep your kit is somewhere cool and dry. That environment will help keep food from going bad.

But you also should have the kit somewhere you can easily reach it during an emergency. This may vary based on what types of emergencies your area experiences. If you experience tornados, you may want to keep the kit in the basement or shelter, for instance.

Make sure all family members know where the kit is and it can be accessed quickly if you need to leave your home in a hurry. You can also create smaller kits for your work or your car, so you are ready to go whenever disaster strikes.

A home emergency kit takes only a few hours to prepare but can save a life. Before severe weather season arrives, get your kit ready to go so your family can rest a little easier.

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