Staying Prepared: Important Items to Include in Your Emergency Kit
by M.C. Millman
Although National Preparedness Month is drawing to a close, it's never too late to start preparing for an emergency.
While it's great to be optimistic, the reality is that we never truly know when a disaster may impact our lives. You can't prepare for every possible scenario, but there are essential items everyone should be sure to keep on hand.
1-Water. Keep a two-week store of water for each person in your household. To calculate how much you need, estimate one gallon of water per person per day.
2-Non-Perishable Food. Have a minimum of a three-day supply of non-perishable food. The foods should not require refrigeration, cooking, or much water. Canned foods like tuna and beans and packaged foods like peanut butter, cereal, granola, and protein bars are great options.
3-First Aid Kit. There are many different size emergency kits you can buy. Whether making your kit or buying one, it should include things like sterile gloves, sterile dressings, band-aids, a cleansing agent, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, eye wash solution, a thermometer, OTC pain relievers and antacids, and a seven-day supply of any prescription medications you presently take.
4-Battery-Powered or Hand-Crank Radio. Try to get an NOAA Weather Radio to listen to the news, get weather reports, and possibly charge your phone. There are also solar-powered radio options.
5-Tools. Top tools for an emergency include a multi-purpose tool to turn off utilities and many other purposes, a flashlight for power outages, and a whistle to signal for help.
6-Maps of Your Area. If you need to evacuate, but there is a power outage and no internet access, a paper map may be your best bet to find your way to safety and family or friends.
7-Extra Batteries. Store batteries for your flashlight, radio, and other devices that work on battery. You can also purchase a solar charger for devices that require charging.
8-Family and Emergency Contact Information. Many of us depend on our phones for vital information. Be sure to include important contact information and addresses in case your phone is lost or cannot be charged.
9-Cash. Without power, credit cards and digital wallets will be useless. Keep some cash packed away in your bag, just in case.
An emergency kit should start in your home, but you should also consider keeping a small kit at work and one in your car. Set a date to check your supplies annually and swap out any items nearing expiration, specifically batteries, food, and medical supplies. It's also a good idea to reevaluate your needs at that tie to ensure your kit still has adequate supplies.
While the list provided could be more comprehensive, it is a great start. Many resources are available to help you pack an even better emergency kit. You can start by checking out Ready.gov for resources on National Preparedness Month.