It seems that no matter where you live, there are a variety of storms prevalent in the various areas that we spend most of our daily living. Whether you live in tornado alley, coastal areas that are threatened by hurricanes, places with ice and snow storms, instances of forest and house fires, or even if your car breaks down in the boonies, you need an emergency kit!
Having an emergency kit that is packed and ready to go in case of an emergency or sudden evacuation is something we all should have on hand and ready to grab on short notice. Many of us realize how important planning for an emergency is, but sometimes we put ‘the planning part’ on the back burner hoping “it won’t happen to me.”
Why not give yourself a little bit of peace of mind by taking charge in advance of an emergency, by packing a kit that is ready to grab quickly if the need arises to make a quick departure. You can make a kit for each member of your family and store them in a closet for easy access. Here are some helpful tips to consider when making emergency kits for your family.
Who should get an emergency kit?
It is a good idea to pack each member of your family their very own emergency kit. Each kit can contain individual essential items that are specific to the needs of each family member. Don’t forget Fido! Your pets are important, so pack a kit for your family pets too.
What kind of pack should you use?
A durable backpack is the best way to go. Backpacks are made to distribute the weight evenly over the back and shoulders and allows the hands to be free, making it a good choice for all ages. Also, considering you may have to walk a distance, it’s important to plan for this comfort. You’ll also find the various pockets are handy to separate and store specific items.
What to include in your emergency kit?
Water is very important basic essential to include in your emergency kit. FEMA recommends that each person have 1 gallon of drinking water per day. It’s important to be sure everyone stays properly hydrated. Dehydration is NOT good! Being dehydrated can cause fatigue, confusion, low blood pressure, delirium, unconsciousness, and even death. One gallon of water is 128 ounces, which is about 6 to 8 store-bought bottles depending on the size of the bottles. If you are unable to carry that much water, plan ahead how you will obtain clean drinking water from other sources.
Having a supply of food items will help keep your energy levels up and the crankiness down when bombarded with the stress of an emergency. Pack food items that are nonperishable and sealed in airtight packaging. Some good food items that come to mind are snacks like granola, trail mix, protein bars, beef jerky, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, peanut butter, or individually canned meat (such as tuna, sardines, salmon, and chicken.) Don’t forget to pack a manual can opener. Plan to pack enough food to last for at least a few days.
Some other very important things to pack in the event of an emergency or disaster is plenty of clean socks, underwear, several thin layers of shirts, a windproof and/or waterproof jacket, and a hat. In a disaster situation you may have to walk for long distances, so, if your budget allows, pack an extra pair of good walking shoes.
This item can include many things, but, at the very least, pack some sort of tarp and rope so you can string up a makeshift shelter if needed. If you have a small pop up tent, that is even better. Include one small roll of plastic sheeting in each person’s pack to form a waterproof layer on the ground for sitting and sleeping just in case you do need to sleep outdoors.
What else should you pack?
Besides water, food, and shelter, there are essentials that everyone should have access to when an emergency situation occurs. This is a short list of items that shouldn’t be forgotten:
- Waterproof matches
- Flashlight, extra batteries, or a hand crank flashlight
- Rain poncho for each person
- First aid kit (include any necessary medication for your family members)
- Copies of identification, or any other important papers you may need, in a Ziploc plastic bag or waterproof container. Also, write out and laminate one card for each person with important information, including address, phone, work address, school address, health information, parents’ names, kids’ names, other family names and addresses, etc.
Space with be at a premium, so carefully pack all of your items into each backpack. Clearly mark the packs with each household member’s name and the date it was packed. As time passes, the family’s needs will change, so it’s a good idea to mark your calendar to evaluate your packs routinely. Some items, such as food and medication, will need to be checked and rotated periodically. Even identification information may change, such as schools, phone numbers, etc.
Designate a family meet-up place in case of evacuation and store the packs in that location, if possible. In the event of an emergency evacuation, each person can easily see which pack is theirs and will be able to grab it and go. Remember to practice your evacuation procedures each time you update the packs. This will keep this safety procedure fresh in everyone’s minds. You may never need to put these packs to the test, but isn’t it better to know that they are ready if you do?