Emergencies can happen at any time, to anyone. Being prepared does not mean you have to become a prepper. Having a basic kit on hand will lessen your stress during emergencies. What a kit contains can vary based on where you live and what natural disasters your area is prone to. Whether you buy an emergency bag or build your own, having this in your home can make a difference when an emergency happens. Building a home emergency kit is a good investment.
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For where we live, the biggest emergency threat is forest fires. Our fire season can start in April and generally goes into June. However, depending on the year, forest fires can occur much later in the summer. We have been very lucky, in the eleven years we have lived here there has never been a major fire near us. Two years ago, we had two small fires that were within forty kilometers of town. This may seem far away, but with the right conditions, a fire can quickly spread.
Knowing what to put in an emergency can be a challenge. There are plenty of different sources online that will give you a list of what you need. No matter what, there are a number of basic items that you need to include in your kit. The following is what our family has in our kit currently.
Water. By far the most important thing to include is water. It is recommended to have 4 liters (1 gallon) of water per person, per day. This covers drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Make sure to include your pet’s water as well. For our family, there are four of us – and that includes our dog. This means we need 64 liters (17 gallons) of water for a three-day kit. That’s a lot of water and can be a challenge to store. I actually need to store more, as our current kit only contains half of that. Likely the dog won’t need 4 liters a day, however, there is nothing wrong with having some extra water.
First Aid Kit. The second most important item to include. Injuries can happen any day, however, they are more likely to happen during an emergency. We also included a first aid manual.
Blanket. No matter the climate, having a blanket is a good idea. It can help keep you warm. Give you a clean place to sit. It can even be used to transport items.
Toilet Paper. A generally overlooked item. You never know where you will end up, so having this in your kit can be handy.
Candles & Matches. Power is often lost during emergencies. Having a few candles, matches and a lighter, can help to provide illumination.
Flashlight. Another handy thing to have for when the power is out. I keep a battery powered flashlight in our kit. I also have a wind-up flashlight in an easy to find location in the house.
Batteries. If you include anything in your kit that requires batteries, you need to also include extra batteries.
Gloves. A pair of work gloves is important. There may be broken glass. Perhaps your vehicle’s tire needs changing as you drive to a safe location. You may need to pick up something hot. Work Gloves will keep your hands clean and safe.
Bathroom Items. I decided to include a small pouch while includes some basic bathroom items. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Travel sized shampoo and soap, for sanitation purposes. A hairbrush, with several elastics for my long hair. These elastics can have other uses as well. I also put in some band-aids, an ACE bandage, some gauze pads and medical tape, and ointment. Finally, I tossed in a garbage bag, just in case.
Tools. Things may need repairs. This is why I included a multitool in our kit. That way if we need a screwdriver or a small blade, there is one within easy reach. Be sure it is a good quality multitool.
Dust Masks. Depending on the emergency, there may be dust or smoke. Having these dusk masks will help prevent inhaling those.
Can Opener. An emergency kit will likely contain canned good. So a can opener in a must. Make sure it is a manual one.
Spare Shoe Laces. Shoelaces can break, so having an extra set is a good idea. This can also be used for tying up small items.
Rope. There are a million and one uses for rope. It made sense to include some in our kit.
Sanitary Pads. A must-have item if you have any women in your home.
Duct Tape. This can be used for repairs. It can help in a first aid situation. It can even seal doors to prevent smoke, ash or dust from coming into the house.
Playing Cards. I made sure to include this as a means of entertainment.
Towel. Great for cleaning up a spill or drying off something wet.
Notebook & Pens. These are handy to have in any situation.
Changes To Make
While I have a pretty good start to our emergency kit, there are changes I will be making in the future.
Important Documents. Making sure we have a copy of all our important documents is something I need to add. This included insurance information, identification, contacts, and copies of prescriptions.
Food. Having a couple of edible items in your emergency kit is a good idea. Ensure these foods are easy to prepare and are not expired. Items such as granola bars, cans of tuna, jerky, and other died foods work well.
Money. Having cash on hand is a good idea. ATMs may be down during an emergency.
Making our kit more mobile. Currently, everything is stored in a big plastic container. While this works for now, I want to eventually put it into a bag. This way we can easily grab and go. Yes, it’s certainly possible to grab our current emergency kit and toss it in the car. However, there is no guarantee that we won’t need to walk at some point during an emergency. If that happens, having our kit in a backpack would be ideal. That way we can carry everything and keep our hands free.
Clothes. Having at least one change of clothes per person is a good idea. I plan to add a shirt, socks, and underwear for each of us. If there is room, I will add a part and pants and sweater each. It is generally cool here in the summers and very cold in the winters. So having heavier clothes makes sense for us.
Radio. This is an item I have been meaning to get for a while. Having a radio is a good way of getting updates on the emergency situation. Whether there is an evacuation notice or some other announcement, being able to access this information easily is important. My plan is to add a crank radio to our kit this year. This means we won’t have to worry about keeping batteries stored for when we need it.
Pets. A small container filled with three days worth of kibble will make a big difference. I may also include a spare leash and collar. Finally, her vaccines records should be added.