Ten Items for a Home Preparedness Kit
It is impossible to know when a situation may occur that will require you to take immediate action to protect you and your family. A great starting place is putting together a
Home Preparedness Kit. This kit can be as large or small as you need, based on your family’s specific situation.There are at least ten items you will want to be sure you have included in your kit, regardless of if you have to evacuate your home, or stay in place for a period of time.
- Potable Water - one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and cleaning. A few of those five-gallon bottles would be perfect! If you have a pet, remember they will need to drink, too.
- Nonperishable Food - at least a three-day supply per person, preferably uncanned. If the food is canned, be sure to include a can opener. Several companies sell civilian version of the military-style Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) that are actually pretty tasty, and include warmers so you can enjoy a hot meal. If infants are a part of your family, do not forget to include enough of their formula.
- Cell phones, along with chargers for both wall outlet and vehicle power points. Remember, though, that damage to cellular phone towers may limit your ability to use them. To prevent an overload of the phone grid that remains active, limit any phone calls to emergency calls only or send a text message instead.
- Radio, either one that is battery-powered or hand-cranked. Be sure that this includes a tone alert NOAA Weather Radio, either included as feature to a multi-function unit or as a separate stand-alone unit. If they are battery-powered, include plenty of extra batteries.
- First aid kit, to include any prescription medications you may need, extra eye glasses, bandages, antibiotic ointment, and a combination of over-the-counter medicine for common ailments like headaches or upset stomachs.
- Cash or Traveler’s Checks, because stores may not be able to process debit or credit cards, and may not accept checks.
- Masks, such as a dust mask or N-95 respirator, to help filter dusty air. These types of filters do not clean out any vapors, though, so use caution.
- Tools to turn off utilities or repair minor damage to your home.
- Maps of the local area, with Points of Interest already marked, such as churches or schools that the Red Cross has assigned as possible shelters, routes of evacuation, or friends and family members who may require assistance.
- Flashlights, for those late night trips to the bathroom. If your flashlight and radios all use the same size batteries, this will make stockpiling them a lot easier!
Many of these items, such as
bottled water, medications, food, and batteries, have expiration dates. Occasionally the supplies in your Preparedness Kit will need to be rotated to ensure they remain fresh and ready for the unexpected. There are other items that could very well be included in this list, such as a whistle to call for help, or garbage bags, or changes of clothing, or a sleeping bag. The most important items, though, are those that you and your family will need if you are not able to get to a store or receive assistance for at least three days.