Home Emergency Preparedness Kits
If you've paid any attention to the media at all in the last couple years, you've noticed many government agencies, as well as folks like the Red Cross, are advocating people start assembling home emergency preparedness kits. The reason is not because they are "abandoning" us but because they feel (rightly, in my opinion) that people should start taking a role in their own well being and safety. If you go back to the earlier days of this country, citizens didn't look to the government to repeatedly swoop in and save them from any and all manner of crises. Instead, there was much more a feeling of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and meeting challenges head on.
Home Emergency Preparedness Kits
A big part of doing that is to get yourself prepared first. A good first line of defense is a home emergency preparedness kit. What follows is certainly not an all-encompassing list of supplies. Each family is different and each will have their own specific needs. Instead, what I will do is give you some general guidelines to follow when assembling your kit.
First, one of the first things to go during a disaster is your electricity, right? While most of us can easily handle a power outage lasting a few hours, what if it takes a few days, or even longer, before the lights go back on? Without power, odds are good your furnace won't be working. So, if this happens during the winter, it is going to get pretty cold. Be sure you have plenty of blankets and cold weather clothing on hand. If you decide to use space heaters, please be sure to ventilate them properly.
If you have an electric stove, that isn't going to work and neither will your microwave oven. While you can certainly heat up food on a gas or charcoal grill, consider setting aside some foods that won't require cooking, such as granola bars, crackers and peanut butter, and dried fruit. While not necessarily the most varied of diets, these types of things will fill bellies.
There is also the chance you won't have running water. Therefore, begin storing it, just in case. While you can certainly purchase bottled water for this purpose, a cheaper option is just to fill clean containers yourself. The 2L size soda bottles work very well for this purpose. Do not plastic milk jugs though as these aren't made for long-term storage.
Many stores also sell larger containers specifically for storing water. We have several of the 7 gallon size containers, which are a good size in that it stores a lot and isn't too difficult to move around as needed.
Without running water, toilets won't always flush. Thus, you should think ahead and plan for where you will, well, go. You can line an empty toilet with a plastic garbage bag, then tie it closed after several uses.
Powdered clothes detergent will help with the inevitable smell. You can also use a five gallon bucket partially filled with cat litter. Most toilet seats will rest fairly well on these buckets but they do actually make seats specially designed for this purpose. You can find them in camping or sporting good stores.
Other generalized items for a home emergency preparedness kit would include a good, well-stocked first aid kit and tools you may need for clearing downed trees and other debris. Even if you aren't physically able to tackle a challenge like that, you may have neighbors who can help but won't have the tools for doing so. Chainsaws, bow saws, ropes, and eye/ear protection are all important.
Take heed from FEMA, assemble a home emergency preparedness kit today!