What to Keep in an Emergency Kit for the Home
Most people don’t like to think too much in terms of the worst-case scenario. You see disasters like tornadoes or earthquakes hitting other parts of the country, but are fairly certain such an event couldn’t occur where you live. But what if something did happen in your neighborhood? What if, say, your power and utilities were knocked out for several days? Would you be prepared?
The Importance of Having a Home Emergency Kit
In the Detroit area, winter can bring blizzards with heavy snow and ice, and this type of weather can easily leave residents stranded without electricity or frozen water lines. Or, slick, snow-covered roads may make it impossible to leave your home to stock up on supplies after you’re already stuck. It’s always better to be over-prepared, especially in the winter, so you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring! This is where the importance of having an emergency kit for your home comes into play.
Items to Keep in an Emergency Kit for the Home
When you’re creating your home emergency kit, keep in mind that you should have enough supplies to last at least three days. While hopefully you’d receive help as soon as possible, it can generally take relief workers up to 72 hours to arrive on the scene depending on the scope of the emergency. Use a strong, plastic tote or box that can keep out dust, debris and water, and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is kept. You should store your emergency kit for the home in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight to keep supplies fresh, like the shelf in a hallway closet, for example.
So, what kind of items should you keep in a home emergency kit?
- Water- the most important item in your emergency kit is clean water, which is used for both drinking and sanitation. You should plan on having a gallon of water per person in your household per day.
- Non-perishable food items, like canned goods, protein bars, dried fruits, cereals, etc. Don’t forget the manual can opener!
- Any prescription medications your family is taking, with a list of the medications and physician phone numbers. Also include copies of important documents like immunization records and insurance cards.
- First aid kit with bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, aspirin or ibuprofen, tweezers, etc.
- One or two flashlights with working and extra batteries.
- Crank-up AM/FM radio.
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags.
- Towels and washcloths.
- Changes of clothing for different types of weather- shorts and t-shirts for summer, hats and gloves for winter, for example.
- Moist towelettes, plastic bags and twist ties for personal sanitation.
- Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and other personal care products – extra contacts and glasses for those who need them!
- Duct tape and masking tape, along with plastic sheeting to seal doors or windows if necessary.
- Dust masks to filter possibly contaminated air.
- Whistles to signal for help.
- Rope and a utility knife.
- Multi-purpose tool that can be used to turn off utilities if necessary.
- Maps of the area.
- Extra cash.
- Cell phone with charger and extra batteries.
Keep in mind if you have an infant, young children or pets you’ll need to include items in your home emergency kit specifically for them as well. Diapers and wipes, baby food and formula and extra blankets will be needed for a baby, and include games, toys or books for the kids to keep them entertained. Pets should have an extra supply of food and fresh water, plus a lease or harness to keep them close by. Make copies of their medical records, too!
Avoid waiting for the unexpected to happen; you can very well keep an emergency situation from becoming a disaster simply by creating a proper emergency kit for your home.
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