Emergency Kits

Posted on
December 15, 2015 by

Emergency Preparedness Kits: Are you prepared?

“Where’s the flashlight??!!” This is often the first thing out of someone’s mouth when the power goes out. Not necessarily the biggest emergency as power companies are usually on the ball and have the situation cleared up within hours. But what if they didn’t? What if the power was out for a day? Two days? One week… Would you be prepared for an emergency?

Being prepared goes far beyond just having a flashlight that has working batteries in it (mental note: check flashlight batteries tonight…) stashed in the junk drawer in your kitchen or laundry room. Every year there are emergency situations across North America that warrant preparedness; hence, the Emergency preparedness kit. I know a lot of people have a mini version in the trunks of their vehicles (I live in Canada so it’s pretty common) but I don’t know a lot of people who have these in their homes.

DO I REALLY NEED AN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KIT?
Contrary to popular belief, survival kits did not go out of style at the end of the Cold War. Survival kits and disaster preparedness are still all the rage, for good reason. Our society is an ever-growing throbbing mass of people with the consumers out-weighing the producers.

It is the norm to go about our busy days thinking, “I can just go to the store and buy things if I need them.” or “I can just go to the bank.” or I can just turn on the faucet and open the fridge.” “That will never happen. “But it does happen. Ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, extreme heat and cold strike every year and cause power outages, some of which can last for days. In these cases, the store, the bank and in extreme situations, the faucet, won’t be of any help to you and your family; that is why survival gear is always beneficial.

Below are some components of the basic Emergency Preparedness Kit (as suggested by the American Red Cross):

Basic Supplies:

At a minimum, have these basic supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency kit that you can use at home or take with you if you must evacuate. Make sure to account for how many people are in your household.

1 Gallon(s) of water
one gallon per person, per day
Keep a 3-day supply for evacuation; a 2-week supply for home

Food
non perishable, easy-to-prepare items
Keep a 3-day supply for evacuation; 2-week supply for home

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (a NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries (to power flashlights, radios and entertainment items)
  • First aid kit
  • Medications and medical items. Keep a 7-day supply of medications whenever possible.
  • A multi-purpose tool ** (several tools that fold into a pocket-size unit)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items (such as toothbrushes, plastic bags, moist wipes, toilet paper, feminine supplies, etc.)
  • Copies of important personal documents.
  • List of medications and all pertinent medical information
  • Proof of address
  • Deed/lease to home
  • Passports/birth certificates
  • Insurance policies
  • Cell phone with chargers (your cell phone may be useful during an emergency)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash ** (remember that ATMs may not be working if the power is out.)
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • An easy-to-carry container to store these items

Additional Supplies for All Members of Your Household:

  • Medical supplies for others
  • Hearing aids with extra batteries
  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Assistive devices

Baby supplies

  • Bottles
  • Formula
  • Baby food
  • Diapers

Pet supplies 

  • Collar
  • ID
  • Carrier
  • Leash
  • Bowl
  • Picture of you and your pet
  • Two way radios
  • Car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Disaster-Specific Supplies: 
(Consider additional supplies based on the types of disasters common to your area.)

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home (gather what you will need to turn off utilities, etc.)
  • Extra clothing, a hat and sturdy shoes * (especially if you live in a colder climate)
  • Plastic sheeting/duct tape/scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags *

For a more comprehensive and specific list, you can visit www.redcross.org.

It is suggested that you replenish or replace your food and water supplies every 6 months to make sure that everything is still safely consumable. For a many emergencies we have a warning system, so just having the basics prepared, or all in the same general area will probably suffice.

Will you ever use this kit? Maybe, maybe not. Some of us live in parts of the world where it seems fairly unlikely that anything disastrous will ever happen. But one thing is certain: assembling your family’s Emergency Kit is the first and biggest step to being prepared.