emergency-kitlAccording to a U.N. report, there were more than 370 natural disasters last year, affecting over 200 million people. This sobering statistic highlights the reality that disasters can happen anywhere, to anyone, often with little or no warning. In preparing your home and organization for such crisis events, you should always have an emergency kit ready.

You never know how quickly rescue workers will be able to reach you or how long utilities will be out for following a disaster. Therefore, it’s wise to include food, water and basic necessities in your emergency kit. Experts recommend you build your kits with enough supplies to last a minimum of three days per person and that you have one for your home and vehicle.

So, what should go in your home emergency kit?

Basic emergency supplies

  • clean water (1 gallon per person per day) in plastic containers
  • non-perishable, no-cooking-required food
  • battery-powered radio (preferably a NOAA weather radio)
  • matches in waterproof container
  • flashlight and/or light sticks
  • spare batteries
  • first-aid kit
  • cell phone and charger
  • prescription medications
  • cash (small denominations and coins)
  • sleeping bag or warm blanket
  • extra clothes and shoes
  • backup keys to your house and vehicle

Useful tools and equipment

  • compass
  • pocket knife
  • tape
  • wrench and pliers
  • shovel
  • paper, pencil and permanent marker
  • whistle, signal flares and reflectors
  • can opener
  • fire extinguisher
  • disposable camera
  • work gloves
  • plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife to shelter in place
  • N-95 respirator mask or dust mask
  • rain gear and tent

Supplies for sanitation purposes

  • moist towelettes and/or hand cleanser
  • household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
  • plastic bucket, heavy-duty garbage bags and plastic ties
  • personal hygiene items
  • paper towels

Important documents to be stored in a waterproof container

  • copies of insurance policies and IDs
  • emergency contact numbers
  • list of food and drug allergies (especially antibiotics)
  • photos of family members for identification purposes, in case you become separated

You should also include any special items children, seniors or pets may need. Additionally, you can find suggestions for items to include in your vehicle’s emergency kit here.

Have you already built an emergency kit? Are there any items that you have found to be extremely useful that are not listed above?

Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.