When something unexpected happens, it's only natural to want to be as prepared as possible. Whether you have to leave your home at a moment's notice or live without power or water for an extended period of time, planning ahead is key. And with the current coronavirus outbreak and recommendations to stay home and self isolate, having essential items within reach can make the stressful situation more bearable and can help keep you and your loved ones safe. And while you certainly shouldn't panic, if you do want to make an emergency kit for peace of mind, you should. While these items focus more on when natural disasters occur, they're also great essentials to have handy in general. Keep reading for nine items you'll need.
The most important item that you can have in any emergency preparedness kit is enough water to last everyone in your household for at least two weeks. In general, this is just good to have on hand. And if it's a natural disaster like a hurricane or other strong weather, it can knock out power and impact water supplies, making your tap water either nonexistent or undrinkable and dangerous. Even after the storm has passed, you don't know how long it could take to get your water back, so it's best to be prepared for the long-term.
In the age of credit and debit cards, many of us rarely have cash on hand. But in the event that the power in your city goes out during a hurricane or you can't access an ATM, you'll want to make sure you still have access to money.
It's always a good idea to have your important documents ready, protected, and in a safe place. Keep passports, social insurance cards, home insurance policies, birth certificates, and any other essential documents you have in a waterproof container. Make sure it's in a location where it's ready to grab at a moment's notice.
Putting prescription medications in your emergency kit is a must. Include anything you take on a regular basis that's prescribed by a doctor, and make sure you're packing any medications that your loved ones or elderly family members take, too. Also consider packing things like EpiPens, pain medication, antidiarrheals, and other medications you might need.
Like water, you should have enough food in your emergency kit to last you and your family members for at least two weeks. Focus on nonperishable food items like canned soups and dry foods like crackers. Make sure to pack a manual can opener, too!
Sanitary Items and Toiletries
It's important to have sanitary items and toiletries on hand, so you can keep clean and prevent illnesses. Keep personal hygiene items on hand as well, like toothbrushes and sanitary napkins.
Supplies For Children and Pets
Your children and pets have unique needs that require extra planning. Parents with babies and toddlers will need to pack diapers, wipes, soothers, formula, clothes, blankets, and other essentials. For pets, make sure you have two weeks' worth of food and any special medications they take, as well as any crates or carriers for transportation. Pack toys for both children and pets to ensure they're kept occupied.
Flashlights and Extra Batteries
Pack a few flashlights in your emergency kit, and be sure to stash some extra batteries. You should also try to pack extra batteries or wireless chargers for the rest of your electronics, like your cellphone, so you can keep in touch with family or contact emergency services if necessary.
First Aid Kit
No disaster preparedness kit would be complete without a first aid kit. You can buy a first aid kit from the Red Cross, or you can put one together yourself. If you're putting it together yourself, just be sure to include an assortment of bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, gloves, tweezers, scissors, and a thermometer.