At any time of the year an incident could knock out power to your house, your neighborhood, your entire town. Would you be able to live off of what you already have at home?
While you don’t think about disaster supplies every day, they’re vital to have. Use this checklist to help you put together a disaster preparedness kit or update the one you already have.
Food and Water
A good rule of thumb is to keep a two-week supply of nonperishable food (don’t forget the can opener) and bottled water for you and your family. You typically want one gallon of water per person, per day. Store it all in a safe, dry place.
Medications and First-Aid
Stock your emergency kit with both medications that you and other family members take daily (enough for at least a week) as well as supplies, such as bandages, antiseptic ointment, and fever reducers to help you treat injuries and illness.
Your pets will need food and water, so always keep extra on hand for them. Don’t forget any medications they may need.
Store extra batteries along with your flashlights or lanterns. Or, choose a hand-crank flashlight instead. Just check regularly that it’s in good working order.
A hand-crank radio is another must and allows you to tune in to emergency broadcasts.
Blankets and Clothing
If you’re without power during inclement weather, you’ll appreciate having some extra clothes, socks, undergarments, hats, gloves, and blankets on hand. Don’t forget a blanket for your pets.
Think things such as baby wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and more.
Having copies of important paperwork, such as passports and insurance policies, comes in handy if you need to evacuate your home. Also have contact information for family members and emergency providers.
A multipurpose tool may be all you need, but also think about including things you might take camping, such as a small axe or pliers.
Matches, maps, cash, breathing masks, a whistle, a compass, a tarp – there are plenty of other things you can add to your emergency preparedness kit. Use your family’s needs as a guide. It might not hurt to throw in a pack of cards or activity books to help keep kids occupied during long stretches.
It may seem a little daunting to set all this aside, much less make it all portable in case you need to leave your home. But, if the need ever arises, you’ll be glad you planned ahead. Your disaster supplies may even save your life one day, so be sure to check periodically that you have everything you need and to replace expired items.