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How to Make an Emergency Preparedness Kit for Your Home

Would you and your family be prepared in the event of a hurricane or other disaster? If the answers is no, then the time to prepare is now as the 2012 Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1st. Everyone who lives in vulnerable areas needs to make an emergency preparedness kit. Additionally, even if you live thousands of miles from the coast, it’s still prudent to prepare a kit. According to the National Hurricane Center/NOAA, an emergency preparedness kit should include the following items:

Water: You will need at least 1 gallon per day per person for 3 to 7 days. Don’t forget about extra water for your pets.

Food: You will need enough food for at least 3 to 7 days. Make sure you have non-perishable packaged or canned foods, special food for infants, a non-electric can opener, cooking tools, paper plates, and plastic utensils.

  • Money-Saving Tip: Do not wait until a hurricane watch or warning is posted to stock up on these items. Price-gouging, although illegal, is far too common in the face of an impending disaster, and you’re also likely to find the store shelves heavily picked over, if not barren.

Clothing: You will need seasonal clothing, rain gear, as well as sturdy shoes and work gloves in case you have to clean up debris or make repairs to your home.

Toiletries, Hygiene Items, and Moisture Wipes: You’ll need at least a 1-week supply of your toiletries and hygiene items. Keep in mind that if your water supply becomes contaminated after the storm or emergency, you will be taking sponge baths. As such, you should include lots of washcloths, moisture wipes and dry shampoo.

Tool Set: You’ll need a tool set containing a small hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, wrench, a coil of wire, wire cutters, scissors, and heavy-duty tape. Also, if you used specific tools and hardware to install your metal hurricane shutters or cover your house windows with plywood, include extras of such items so you can either repair or take down the shutters as necessary.

First Aid Kit, Medicines, and Prescriptions Medications: You should have at least a 10-day supply of any over-the-counter medicines or prescription medications that you or your family take.

  • Money-Saving Tip: Save the receipts for the purchase of items for your first aid kit as you’ll typically be able to claim these items as tax-deductible medical expenses on your tax return. Also, while you can buy pre-made first aid kits, it is often cheaper to create your own. For a list of items to put in your first aid kit, check out the American Red Cross’s recommendations here.

Flashlights, Lanterns, Candles, Batteries, and other Camping Equipment: Remember, you may be without power and other creature comforts for weeks following a disaster. Think of it like an extended family camping trip and make a plan to acquire outdoor and camping equipment accordingly.

  • Money-Saving Tip: You’re in luck–the end of May is the exact time of year many stores put their camping and outdoor equipment on sale. One potential place to buy significantly discounted camping equipment and survivalist gear is at an army surplus store. Another way to save is by purchasing used equipment on Craigslist, eBay, or at the niche, peer-to-peer market sites GearTrade and LowerGear.

Battery Operated NOAA Weather Radio

  • Money-Saving Tip: The cheapest battery operated NOAA weather radio I found online was the Kaito Electronics Inc. KA001 Portable Hand-Crank AM, FM, NOAA Radio available at Amazon.com for $14.00 plus $2.99 for shipping. At Sports Authority, battery operated NOAA radios cost between $29.99-$59.99 depending on the model. If you sign up your email address at SportsAuthority.com, the store will immediately email you a 10% discount code for online shopping and a printable coupon good for $10.00 off your next in-store purchase of $50.00 or more.

Cash: You should have enough cash on hand (including small bills) to cover at least one week of spending.

Important Documents: In a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag, keep copies of your insurance forms, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. You should also consider uploading scans of these documents to your email account or a photo-hosting site so that you will be able to remotely access this information in the event the documents are destroyed.

  • Money-Saving Tip: Prior to hurricane season, it’s prudent to take extensive pictures of your home and personal property. Print out copies of these pictures and then store them with your other important documents. Also, upload digital copies of the photos to your email account or a photo-hosting site that you can access remotely. If you need to make an insurance claim after the storm, these photos can help you get the maximum reimbursement and save you a significant amount of money.

Phone: Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone with an extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set.

Gas: Fill up your vehicle with gas, and if you have an outdoor gas grill, make sure it has a full tank of gas.

Pet Care Items: Make sure you have copies of your pet’s identification and immunization records. You will also need a 1-week supply of food, water, and medications for your pet.

Toys, Books and Games: Say goodbye to your iPad and DVR recordings and say hello to Scrabble and that 5,000 piece puzzle that’s been sitting in your attic for the last decade.

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5 thoughts on “How to Make an Emergency Preparedness Kit for Your Home”

  1. We are fortunate enough our family during hurricanes 2 years ago sent us a generator. We dig a hole in back yard to store gas containers in, spread them apart and cover hole with plywood and dirt. About 3-4 feet deep stays cool and out of site. We pack our hurricane supplies in plasic totes once the warnings are posted and set the in our bathroom and hallway closet before the storm tha way they sta dry and we can us them to set on and as a table. We have 2 portable dvd players and extra batteries.or kids. And yes after a storm no cellphone as no towers. We bought long range walkie talkies that we each keep. A lesson learned is pack clothes, shoes, towels, pillow, sheets and blankets in plasic container too. I wore wet shoes for 5 days. I use the vacuum bags as well.
    Always keep prescription medicine with you on you in a ziploc bag.
     
    No Candles, No Kerosene lanterns as no fire department.

     Rubber gloves a must and medical disposeable gloves a must. So many things come to mind, make  list of items you use everyday, as well as items you need in the worst case accident to your child, loved one or senoir, that is what u need in first aid kit, and personal supplies. Your needs do not change just the circumstances . As for food and cooking sterno, Strip your stove down, make sure if gas main outside off you can set in hole and light nd cook or o grill. Did this for  month after Typhoon Pamla. Sterno holders or use fondue to cook in.
    There are so many things out there, a item that connects to your car to work like a  generator to charge things, battery operated fans, we even have a fan, light combo that is solar. Th yard sola light make a nice casual light or night light for your child $2 at Walmart, set out day use by night.

    Like I said there are many things out there Just evaluate your families neds buy now so not caught up in last minute rush  over spend or worse  not get what u need. You wil always eat the food and can build a nice table and bench or whatever out of plywood. I have been thru 2 major Typhoons, 3 Major huricanes, 1 bad earthquake,and a wild fire. And still here.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The problem is where do you keep all this stuff so it doesn’t get blown away? Our biggest threat is tornadoes and storm shelters are expensive. Since the big one last April most people who rebuilt did add storm shelters but those of us lucky enough not to be in that path still can’t afford to build one. In our situation a survival kit is not much good if it gets blown away, however, it would help during power outages. I guess this is intended for people not in the the hardest hit areas.

    • Ive heard where some people put their emergency supplies in totes down in their crawl spaces under the house.  In most tornado wreckage the houses can be leveled but the foundation and crawl space is still there. You might consider that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks, that is interesting but most houses are built on a slab – no crawl spaces except in much older homes, It’s kind of a not too funny joke that we are sitting ducks when it comes to how we build our houses, no basements either except in North AL, basements are more common there. Gets kind of creepy sometimes! Every area has their disaster threats of some sort. Thank God we have wonderful emergency response teams.

        • Anonymous says:

          I have a basement, but I still wonder if I could fit it all, and it seems that much of it would need to be portable.  I might try looking into camping gear, because I know there are many survival items that are small.  If you can’t store quite that much water, you might consider iodine tablets or little water purifiers- you can find these for less than $20, and you can also take these with you in the event you have to abandon your home.  A mult-tool isn’t very large, and you can find freeze-dried survival food (they even make civilian MREs), which has a long shelf life and would not take up much space.  Since you coupon, you are probably well on your way to having many of the items listed above in your stockpile- in the event your house is relatively intact, you would be ready to deal with the aftermath.  But, I am assuming that you’ll have to be in a safe location during the storm, so it might be worthwhile to also have a smaller kit that is no larger than a couple backpacks and maybe a cooler that can be grabbed quickly and taken with you wherever you are seeking safety.