As mentioned briefly in my previous entry here, it is absolutely essential to have a proper Emergency Kit and Emergency Plan. With help from trusty ol’ Red Cross, I will outline what I’ve included in my own Emergency Kit and also list suggestions on how to create you own Emergency Plan.
The contents of your emergency kit will depend on two factors:
- The number of people in your household (pets included).
- Natural disasters that are common to your geographic location (i.e. Hawaii and being prepared for a hurricane and/or tsunami or California and being prepared for an earthquake and/or zombie apocalypse).
Of course there will be an overlap in the type of supplies you’ll need based on the “emergency situations” common to your area, so you can use this guide as a base of what to include and then add in items tailored to your need. Red Cross provided a very helpful guide [here], I’ve listed the starter items, plus items that I have added for my own Emergency Kit.
- Water— one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home). Optional: a friend of mine recommended a LifeStraw Personal Filter. It removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters, among some other great stuff.
- Food and Manual Can Opener — nonperishable, easy to prepare items (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home). That can opener
- Extra Clothes – Having an extra, already packed away set of clothes can’t hurt!
- Flashlight (I suggest at least 1 handheld flashlight, 1 lantern)
- Battery powered or handcrank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) – I bought a radio/wind-up lantern, which takes care of the call for a lantern listed above.
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit – I bought the Deluxe Family First Aid Kit from the Red Cross here.
- Fire Starter – I found this affordable Magnesium Fire Starter at Amazon.
- Medications (7 day supply) and medical items (should be included in first aid kit, but add what you need that isn’t include)
- Multipurpose tool - I found an affordably priced Leatherman Kick Multi-Tool at Amazon.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items – I suggest buying a bunch of travel-sized items and putting ‘em in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Don’t forget to include an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, etc as well.
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) – I suggest putting important documents in a plastic folder, like this Document Holder from Amazon.
- Cell phone charger.
- Family and emergency contact information – can be included w/ personal documents.
- Extra cash - I recommend having small bills and coins (for the payphone).
- Emergency blanket – The Deluxe Family First Aid Kit I mentioned above has 1 emergency blanket. I have a sleeping bag from when I moved here, so I have that as well.
- Map(s) of the area
- Pet supplies – collar, leash, ID, dry food, litter, portable litter box. Of course if you have a dog, you items will be different. The Pet Travel store is a good place to purchase collapsible food/water bowls, portable litterbox, and other misc. travel items.
As mentioned, the items listed above are just the bare necessities you’d need for your Emergency Kit. I’ve seen some kits that also include supplies like duct tape, masks, work gloves, etc. So you can decide for yourself if that’s something you think you’d need.
In addition to have a proper Emergency Kit, you should also have an Emergency Plan. Here’s what the Red Cross recommends:
MAKE A PLAN!
- Meet with your family or household members.
- Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
- Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
- If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
- Choose two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or programmed into their cell phones.
Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
- Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
UPDATED: January 2014.