Building an Emergency Kit
Packing an emergency kit well in advance of a storm is critical to being prepared. It is better to have a kit of the necessities ready to go so that if the National Weather Service issues an alert you’re not left hunting for the things you need for the emergency before the storm comes or you have to evacuate. It is best to get prepared so you can keep stress at bay in the face of potential natural disasters.
Here’s a list that Storm Guard thinks should be in your emergency kit:
Basic Supplies for Disasters
- At least three days worth of nonperishable food and water (for drinking and hygiene)
- First Aid Kit
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contacts, etc.)
- Extra clothes (be sure to pack extra socks and another pair of shoes)
- Cell phone and chargers and backup batteries for phones
- Flashlights and batteries
- Masks, hand sanitizer, and soap to disinfect surfaces
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air by debris)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place from a hurricane)
- Manual can opener
- Local maps (in case phones won’t work)
Additional Emergency Supplies
- Sturdy shoes (preferably waterproof)
- Non-prescription medications like pain relievers, antacids, etc.
- Prescriptive Eyeglasses (an extra set if you have more than one)
- Pet food and medicine (if applicable)
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Important documents (identification, insurance policies, bank out records) backed up electronically and in a safe, accessible, waterproof container
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Disposable eating utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
You can look at FEMA’s Emergency Supply checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the storm.
Maintaining Your Emergency Kit
Don’t forget to check on your kit and keep it up to date by:
- Keeping canned food in a dry, cool place
- Replacing expired items
- Storing boxed food in a tightly closed plastic or metal containers
- Evaluating your family’s needs each year (If you have a new member of the family you should consider increasing your food supply)
Be Prepared Wherever You Go
Lastly, make sure you have access to multiple kits. The largest and most important one is the kit you keep in your home. The kit should be in a designated place and all members of the household should know where its location.
If you are able to, you should keep a kit on hand at your workplace. FEMA recommends preparing to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. It should include essentials like food, water, medicines, and comfortable walking shoes in a “grab and go” case.
Another good location for an emergency kit is in the car, just in case you get stranded during a storm. Here’s a good list of what to keep in your car for emergencies.