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It’s not fun to think about what you would do if disaster were to strike but taking some time to prepare for the unknown by building your own emergency kit can give you some peace of mind and support when you need it most.
The events that could lead you to need your own emergency kit vary from place to place, from wildfires and hurricanes to an event that forces you to shelter in place or unexpected loss of access to water and/or food. Taking a moment to think of the potential events/issues that could occur in your area is the first step in planning your emergency kit. While the hope is that you’ll never need it, we know you’ll be glad you did in the event that you need to rely on it, or very sorry that you did not take an afternoon to put some supplies together.
Why A DIY Emergency Kit?
We know there are some great ready to buy emergency response kits and some of them are great foundations for your supplies but as we said above the potential events vary from region to region and no two person’s needs will be the same (ex: a family with a baby will want to include supplies for their baby in their emergency kit). Taking the DIY approach allows you to customize and optimize your emergency supplies to your needs. While we’re on that topic, after you have identified the potential events that could occur in your area, the next step is to take stock of your unique needs. What are the things that you and your dependents need each day, consider everything from medical needs to nutrition, sanitation, and even creature comforts that might be a must (especially if you have little ones)?
What Do I Even Pack My Emergency Kit In?
The best option will be a bag, or bin, that is waterproof and could easily be transported when the need arises. Popular and easily accessible options include dry bags and even 5-gallon buckets.
Am I Now A Doomsday Prepper?
While we love a good apocalypse movie, this guide is not for those looking to assemble a kit that will allow you to survive and thrive after a catastrophic event. Our guide is for those looking to have an emergency kit that will get them through a few days, should they need to wait for services to be restored, or if there is a need to travel to an unaffected area without warning. If you ARE looking to take a deep dive into emergency preparedness, there are some great resources and communities out there that can help. If you are looking for ways to prepare for a ‘basic’ emergency, read on for our basic list and other things to include in your DIY Emergency Kit.
Basic Emergency Kit
- Water and/or a water filter: Red Cross recommends one gallon per day, per person
- Non-perishable, easy to prepare, food
- Extra Batteries
- Well-stocked first aid or trauma kit such as the ones offered by MyMedic
- A week’s supply of any medications and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, extra glasses, etc)
- Multi-purpose tool and/or basic tools
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of important documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Solar cell phone charger
- Family and other emergency contact information
- Extra money
- Emergency blanket: One for each person
- Matches, Lighter, or other fire starters
- Maps of the area
Additional Things to Consider
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two-way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
- N95 or surgical masks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Household liquid bleach
- Alcohol (No, not for drinking but rather for disinfectant and first aid use)
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
Now that you have your emergency kit assembled, store it someplace safe but easily accessible within your home. While the hope is that you never need to use it, you can rest easy, knowing that your home is a little more prepared should something unexpected happen.