Friday, September 15, 2006

Building a Home Emergency Kit -- Part III
Consider These Items

Here’s a list of items that might be stored in a home emergency kit. I pulled this list together with short-term emergencies in mind. These will be useful whether you can stick out the emergency at home or if you need to evacuate. .

Many of the items on this list are things that you already use in your daily life. However, it is advisable to keep unopened duplicates of these in easy-to-carry, easy-to-locate containers. The last thing you want to do if you have to “but out” is to fly through your home, frantically gathering things together when you should be heading out the door.

Even if you do stay at home – say your family is snowed in and the power is out – your life will be easier if your supplies are located in one or two central locations. Pack you car with your emergency containers to make sure that you have enough space to carry them and your family members, as well. You may need to pack smaller containers with the barest essentials for evacuating and hold the overflow in larger containers for emergency use when staying in the shelter of your own home.

Every family should have an evacuation plan in case of house fire or nearby toxic accident or some other unforeseen emergency.

Check supplies frequently to make sure there are no leaks or holes and that the items are fresh. Swap out any things that are reaching their “use-by” date for new ones. You can place these aging items in your kitchen, laundry room, or medicine chest so that they will not be wasted.

Once you have your short-term kit in place, you can think about storing six months to a year of non-perishable rations, toiletries, etc, for your family. These do not have to be packed for evacuation, as you probably couldn't carry them with you anyway.

When building an emergency kit, you don't have to buy everything all at once. Most of us can't afford to go out and do that. You can buy an item here and there as the budget allows, until you feel that you are decently prepared.

Adapt this list to your needs. You may need things that aren’t on this list or decide that you don’t need some of the things that are on the list. This is just to spur your thinking.

Bible – tuck extra copy into your emergency supplies.
Water -- One gallon per person per day, at least three day’s supply
Canned fruit juices – Use for extra liquid and nourishment.
Canned milk – ditto to juices, plus use to prepare food.
Use canned goat milk or non-perishable containers of soy milk if your family does not do dairy
Non-perishable food items -- Include many which do not require preparation.
Have enough to feed your family for at least three days. Non-electric can opener. Disposable plates, cups, napkins, plastic forks, spoons, etc.
Family health history, emergency numbers, extra I.D., proof of insurance, in water proof packets.
Some emergency cash and credit/debit card.
Also consider a money belt. Parents should divide the emergency cash between them. Each adult and each child old enough to handle money should also have enough change to make a couple of emergency calls and cash to buy a meal or two in case of separation from the family. I personally don't think that it would not be wise to give children enough cash to attract thieves. I base this on the chaotic conditions we saw after Hurricane Katrina, where violence errupted even in emergency shelters. However, I'm not expert in this area, so you should come to your own conviction about that.
Extra set of keys – Keep these on a hook by the door closet to your cars.
Extra prescription medicines and extra glasses/contacts, wet wipes (useful even for adults), liquid and tablet Benadryl, Tums, teaspoon or calibrated cup for measuring out liquid medicines, Tylenol and/or aspirin, ibuprofen, adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes, sterile gauze, adhesive tape, blunt-tipped scissors, Ace bandage, anti-diarrhea medicine, Sunscreen!!!, antibiotic cream, heat strips and/or cold packs – the ones that do not need electricity, refrigeration, hot water, or ice in order to work.
Chlorine bleach and/or other water purifier, Also rubbing alcohol to use as disinfectant.
A few inexpensive toys, children's books, etc. –
Use to keep children entertained and calm during an emergency.
A dollar store is a great place to find some items for this stash -- especially books -- but also buy a few things that won't break as quickly as dollar store items might. Books to read or books of puzzles, an inexpensive and easy cross-stitch kit, etc. -- These are for you, your spouse, and for older children. Riding out a disaster at home or in a shelter involves lots of waiting. Especially, if you are uprooted to an emergency shelter, you will need soothing, yet entertaining things to do individually and as a familly.
Blankets, sleeping bags, pillows. Rain gear. Long underwear (for cold climes). Sturdy shoes. Tie shoes for kids. One complete change of clothing for each family member.
Baby items, Feminine supplies (
Note: In an emergency, a feminine pad can be pressed on someone’s wound to stem the blood flow until you can get medical help. Better to be a little embarrassed to use one for this purpose than to let someone continue to bleed),
Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, small shovel in case have to dig emergency latrine, garbage bags and ties, roll of toilet paper, paper towels, flashlights, radio, extra batteries, household gloves, signal flares, first-aid manual, disaster survival manual, safety pins, thermometer, compass. Travel sewing kit. New, never-used bucket for rinsing out dishes or clothing in emergency situations. Separate bucket to use as a chamber pot if home toilets cease to function.
Wrench within easy reach –
This is if you need one to shut off gas or water.

You could also include copies of one or two of your favorite family photographs in your emergency evacuation kit. Stick an acid free stiffener, such as acid-free cardboard, between the photographs to protect them. Wrap them in waterproof plastic wrap.

Don’t, however, try to lug along huge photo albums or lots of sentimental objects if you have to “bug out” of your home. I say this as someone who gets very sentimentally attached to objects. Family or personal treasures are links to the people we love and the memories we cherish. Sometimes, we wrongly equate losing these links with losing the people or the memories themselves. However, as Jesus said, our lives do not consist of our things. Even if our houses and all of our possessions were to be destroyed, we’d be ok. In a crisis, it’s more important to focus on the present needs of our family.


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