Emergencies can arise unexpectedly. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a global pandemic, planning for problems is something every family should prioritize.
It became evident at the onset of the pandemic that many people rush to the grocery store to pick up essential supplies, like water, toilet paper and nonperishable foods during emergencies. Acting out of desperation is something you want to avoid, and you can do so by creating an emergency kit ahead of time.
You’re already taking a step in the right direction if you’re reading this article. Understanding why and how to prepare for emergencies will always come in handy when you least expect it.
What Is an Emergency Kit?
As its name suggests, an emergency kit contains supplies that are essential and used during crises. The main purpose of an emergency kit is to ensure your family has what it needs to survive during difficult times, whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, fire or other disaster.
Emergency kits have saved lives, which is why you and your family should consider having one. It can even be fun to work together to see which items should be included — the CDC even recommends including children in an emergency kit scavenger hunt so the whole family feels prepared.
What to Include in an Emergency Kit
You may be wondering what items are considered essential and what you can leave behind in the event of an emergency. Here are some things you need to include in your emergency kit to ensure you and your family’s safety:
- Water (1 gallon per person per day, for three days) and filtration straws
- Three-day supply of nonperishable food items
- First-aid kit
- Battery-powered radio
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Cell phone chargers and extra batteries
- Prescription medications for each family member
- Nonprescription medicines like pain relievers, antacids or laxatives
- Important family documents, i.e., birth certificates, Social Security cards, licenses
- Sleeping bags or blankets
You can always sort through your household items to see what other things you deem necessary and be sure to include them. You must have easy access to your emergency supplies — consider storing your essential items in airtight containers, suitcases or duffle bags.
Additionally, it’s important to consider if any of your family members are seniors or living with a disability, as this can influence what items you pack in your emergency kit. Older individuals or those with physical disabilities may be vulnerable to more risks during an emergency, so take that into account when developing your emergency plans.
5 Reasons to Have an Emergency Kit
If you’re not yet convinced your family needs an emergency kit, here are seven reasons why having one is necessary.
1. They Prepare You for Any Type of Emergency
Keep an emergency kit in your home so you’re prepared for any scenario that can occur. Emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time, making them unpredictable.
Natural disasters took the lives of over 8,000 people in 2020. Whether you’re facing an electricity outage, snowstorm, flood or hurricane, be sure to keep an emergency kit ready so you’re prepared to take on these events.
2. They Give You Peace of Mind
Your ultimate goal should be to keep your family safe at all times. Emergency kits help you do just that and grant you an added layer of protection during dire times.
Having kits ready to go will give you and your family members a sense of security. Emergencies can be scary, especially for young children. When building an emergency kit, throwing in a toy or stuffed animal to comfort your kids is also a good idea.
3. They Are Easy to Make and Affordable
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to make an emergency kit. They consist of essential items you may already have lying around your home — it’s just a matter of organizing them and storing them in a safe place.
Some organizations even offer emergency kits you can buy for a low price. The American Red Cross sells a three-day emergency kit so you can take the guesswork out of building one.
4. They Prepare You for Evacuations
Some emergencies require you to evacuate your home for safety reasons. Whether it’s an impending hurricane on a coastline in California or a major snowstorm in Maine, having your emergency kit during these times is essential.
Rather than scramble around the house frantically gathering whatever items you may think you need, you’re better off grabbing a premade kit. Time is of the essence during emergencies, so you want to avoid packing at the last minute.
5. They Can Be Used to Treat Minor Injuries
An injury can happen at any time for any reason. Minor issues are easy to treat, but you need the right tools in your kit to keep you safe.
If your child falls and cuts a knee or elbow, you’ll need to clean it with alcohol and bandage any visible wounds to prevent infection. Without these types of first-aid essentials, smaller injuries may become more severe and require medical treatment.
Prepare for the Worst With Emergency Kits
No one likes to think about what they’d have to do in an emergency. Natural disasters, pandemics, fires or power outages all present challenges to the average person.
The best step you can take to stay ahead of the curve is to create an emergency kit with all items you deem necessary. It only takes a couple of minutes and can save you even more time. Protect yourself and your family by building and storing emergency kits in your home.