Home Emergency Supplies

Getting your family prepared for emergencies, or as some call it "prepping," is more a matter of common sense than it is being paranoid. Having home emergency supplies is like buying insurance. We know we need it "just in case" but we hope to never have to actually use it.

There are a wide range of emergencies that could befall us at any time.

--Power outage

Home Emergency Supplies

The list goes on and on. These aren't "end of the world" catastrophes. But, they can still be personally catastrophic if you've not planned ahead for them. I look at home emergency supplies like seat belts. Sometimes it can be a pain to deal with them but if you're ever in an accident, you'll be glad to have them.

Many if not most families already have these supplies on hand, at least to a small degree. The idea here is bulk them up a bit more and organize them.

There are several categories of emergency supplies. Let's run through them here.

Food: You should have enough non-perishable food on hand to last your family a week or two, at a minimum. While if a disaster strikes in the middle of winter, you could probably save at least some of the items in your refrigerator and freezer by storing them outside, you can't rely on your fortune being that good. Further, you can certainly cook most foods on a propane or charcoal grill, even on a campfire, again you shouldn't count on that being an option. Thus, store foods that don't require cold storage or cooking. Crackers, dried fruit, granola bars, canned tuna, and peanut butter all meet those requirements.

Water: Experts suggest a minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day. While this is better than nothing, one gallon will provide enough for drinking and maybe washing your hands a few times, but that's about it.

Double it to get even close to enough for minimal needs. Store it in clean 2L soda bottles or other containers meant for long-term storage. Don't use plastic milk jugs as they will develop leaks due to the type of plastic used.

First aid: You can start with a store-bought kit but that should only be the base you build upon. Add in your favorite over the counter medications for pain relief, stomach upset, antacids, and other common ailments. Double or triple the amount of bandages in the purchased kit and don't forget antibiotic ointment and disinfectant.

Hygiene: Hand sanitizer will go a long way toward keeping your family from becoming ill due to germs. Stock up on extra toilet paper also; while there are alternatives, most of them aren't a lot of fun. If you lose water pressure, your flush toilets won't work very well. You could fill the tanks yourself but that uses up your stored water. A simple five gallon bucket filled partially with sand or kitty litter will suffice for the short-term. The women in your house will appreciate your foresight in stocking up on feminine hygiene products.

Warmth: If disaster strikes in the dead of winter, it can get cold indoors in a hurry. Be sure to have plenty of blankets on hand. There are some heaters that run on propane or kerosene but they shouldn't be used indoors due to carbon monoxide poisoning. A fireplace can help but you lose most of the actual heat up the chimney. A wood stove is far better alternative.

Your home emergency supplies need not be extremely elaborate or expensive. Of course, once you start you might find it difficult to stop. But the goal is to provide for all of your family's needs during and after an emergency.


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