September is Emergency Preparedness Month. Last year I wrote a popular post with directions on how to create a kit for your home and your car and today I wanted to refresh you with the same tips. Please don’t let another year go by without setting up a kit for both your home and your car.
As a professional organizer I am able to take a look inside dozens of homes every week and it always shocks me when I don’t find an emergency kit. It doesn’t matter where you live, you are susceptible to an earthquake, hurricane, snow storm, power outage, flood, etc. and any of these things could leave you and your family stranded at home for a few days without power or electricity.
With all of the time we spend running errands and commuting to work it is definitely possible that an emergency could happen while you are driving. Make a resolution to have a small emergency kit in the trunk of your car with a few emergency essentials.
This is what my emergency kit for my car looks like, it has a blanket, an extra pair of sneakers and socks (just in case I am wearing heels or sandals and need to vacate my car and walk), a flashlight, extra batteries, a power flare, and water. If you have kids you will need to update your kit more frequently to accommodate all of the changes your kids go through as they grow.
Next let’s talk about emergency kits for your pet. This is my emergency kit for Harper, it contains a towel, food, water, and extra food dish, a leash, a toy, and her medicine (she has terrible allergies so Children’s Benadryl is a staple). I keep her kit stored next to my emergency home kit, it is stored in a small bin so I could carry it with us if we had to evacuate.
Living in California I thought more people would have an emergency kit in their homes but I rarely see one. I only say that because when we moved here my mom insisted that we set up one because of the high risk of earthquakes. When I ask my clients why they don’t have one they say they don’t worry about emergencies or they don’t know how to create one, or they have been meaning to set one up but they just keep forgetting. How many of you have an extra supply of food, water, and emergency items in your homes?
This is what my kit looks like. It is recommended you have supplies stored in air-tight tubs or on shelves in your garage or basement. Mine are stored in a cabinet in our garage. It holds all of our essentials and it is easy access to the kitchen if I need to replace or store extra items. I also keep a duffel bag on top just in case I need to leave my house during an emergency.
Here are the items that should be in your kit, this list comes directly from FEMA.
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
- Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
- Matches and waterproof container.
- Extra clothing.
- Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
- Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
- Cash and coins.
- Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
- Other items to meet your unique family needs.
Depending on your climate, this items might come in handy too…
- Jacket or coat.
- Long pants.
- Long sleeve shirt.
- Sturdy shoes.
- Hat, mittens, and scarf.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person)
I stock my kit with non-perishable food from Costco because it comes in bulk. I chose items that we would eat normally like tuna, protein bars, peanut butter, fruit cups, canned chili, canned beans, and pasta.
There is also an extra pair of shoes, towels and blankets, moist wipes, and at least 3 days worth of water. If you have a pool or live next to someone who has a pool think about investing in a high quality water filter
Flashlights and a radio with extra batteries and a Powerflare, first aid kit, and toilet paper. If you have never heard of Powerflare go to their website, it is a much safer alternative to a flare.
Whenever I buy new blankets like these, I add the old ones to my emergency kit.
As important as it is to have an emergency kit, don’t forget to do these things to maintain your kit…
- Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool.
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
- Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded.
- Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
- Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
- Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family needs change.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack, or duffel bag.
Just in case we can’t get into the garage I also have a kit in a backpack in our hall closet that Google gave to us last year. It is very similar to this kit from Quake Kare. If the thought of setting up a kit like mine overwhelms you I would highly suggest you order it.
Please make this year the year that you finally set up an emergency kit in your home. If you need help carving out a space or creating a plan for what your family needs please contact me.