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Primer: Making an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Hurricane season is in full force, and here in California, there's always the chance of an earthquake. Even if you don't live in storm or quake country — but especially if you do — you should have an emergency preparedness kit stashed away.

The American Red Cross recommends having enough food and water on hand to support every member of your household for at least three days. They've also got a great list of other must-haves you may not have thought of, including bleach and a non-electric can opener. Tune in tomorrow, when I'll feature some ready-made kits you can buy. Until now, here's a checklist of everything you should have on hand.

  • Water. The Red Cross recommends one gallon per day per person, including pets. If you don't have any stored, why not make a habit of picking up a gallon or two every time you go to the supermarket?
  • Food. Concentrate on ready-to-eat canned fruits, veggies, juice, and meat, as well as protein-rich snacks like trail mix and granola bars. Don't forget vitamins and special supplies for any elderly family members, babies, and pets.
  • A first-aid kit with Band-Aids, latex gloves, gauze pads, a thermometer, over-the-counter drugs, and necessary prescription medications.

For the other essentials,

  • Tools such as scissors, tweezers, a sewing kit, a manual can opener, a knife, and a wrench to turn off gas and water.
  • Moist towelettes and antibacterial hand gel
  • Sunscreen
  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • A hand-crank or battery-operated radio, with batteries
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Candles and matches
  • Cash
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Toilet paper, feminine products, and garbage bags
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Rain gear
  • Important documents, such as wills, deeds, passports, family records, and a bank account numbers.
  • A list of important phone numbers


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