How to Prepare An Emergency Kit

emergency kit for disasters

If you had a 5-minute notice to evacuate your house, are you prepared? What would you run to gather first? Emergencies happen all the time. We’ve heard of those who need to evacuate due to a fire, flood, hurricane, or other things. Get prepared by having a checklist and an emergency kit ready.

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We often have lots of time to prepare for a planned vacation. Clothes are packed for the number of days we’ll be gone. But when it comes to emergencies, who knows how long it will be. We don’t have much notice to evacuate. The most important thing is for your family to be safe. Things can be replaced. By being prepared, it will be easier to deal with getting back to normal if we have certain documents, etc. available.

I’m not an expert nor have I had to evacuate before, but I’ve read different articles and have tried to get some plan for my family.

Items to consider for emergencies and having to evacuate:

Important documents
Insurance – house, car, medical, life, etc.
Driver’s license
Bank account information
Passports
Birth certificates
Marriage certificates
Social security #s
Legal or court papers
Any other important documents

Pictures of items in your house to document
I’m not sure what each insurance company needs, but this is a starting place. Contact your insurance company to get the details of your specific plan.

Flashlight with extra batteries
In case electricity goes out

Medicine
Prescriptions
Over the counter items for headaches, stomach problems, etc.

First aid kit
For minor injuries 

Computer
Good communication tool
Activities

Phone
Good communication tool
Activities

Chargers for computer and phone
To be able to charge these items, especially to keep in communication with others.

Cash
Good to have cash in case the credit card or debit card systems are not working.

Blankets and pillows
These can be used for sleeping, if the weather is cold, etc.

Activities
Books
Word find games, crossword puzzles, etc.
Games
Cards

Pictures
If there are baby pictures or other pictures important to you, extra copies can be printed or they can be stored electronically.

Sentimental items
Anything that is important

Water
About 1 gallon per person per day

Food
Items like peanut butter, soup, cereal bars, etc.
If there are picky eaters in the family, have something that they’ll eat too.

Manual can opener
Some cans now have the pull tab lids, but it does not take much room and it may come in handy.

Wet wipes or hand sanitizer
Quick way to clean hands

Paper towels
Can be used for cleaning things or when you eat

Clothes
Change of clothes

Toiletries
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Deodorant
Other

Pets
Food and supplies
Leashes, crates, and carriers
Immunization records

Picture of each of your family members and pets
In case you and your family or pets are separated, you’ll be able to use this to show others to assist with finding them.

Fill up vehicles with gas
Even if the disasters are not in your area, the prices may increase and there may be shortages.

This is not a one time let’s look at this list, gather everything, and we’re done. As things change, it will need to be updated. Check at least once a year for expiration dates and if the batteries are still good. Other items to check include clothes for anyone that has changed sizes and any other items.

I’ve worked in healthcare for over 25 years and when a hurricane comes near, I’ve needed to stay at the hospital, while my husband watched the kids at home, except for 1 or 2 hurricanes.  I would pack some things in a container for my husband to take if he had to evacuate with the kids and pets. It was the scrapbooks I did of our family and it was very sentimental to me.

This is an example of containers to store things in and have them ready. Consideration may need to be made as to if each family member having their own backpack with their items would be beneficial. A lot depends on the age of everyone and the situation. These backpacks make a great option as they are foldable until you need them.

Don’t fall into the thinking that “it will not happen to me.” Things do happen and generally it is quickly so there is not much time to think about what you need. Make a checklist of the specific things for your family. Keep it with the container of supplies that you put together. While it is likely that not everything will be stored in the container all the time, note the things on the checklist that are missing to be able to quickly identify them.

We never know when we must evacuate. Are you prepared to get all the necessary items quickly? Learn how to be prepared for disasters with an emergency kit and emergency preparedness checklist.