In the last few years, there has been no shortage of natural disasters in our world. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, fires and tsunamis. We can never predict just how these scenarios will impact our lives, even if we see them coming, like in the case of a hurricane or tornado. The only way to truly avoid the terror of a natural disaster is to be prepared, especially for a mom. Having an emergency preparedness kit is a great way to feel peace in the midst of an impending storm, or in the middle of being confined to your home with no access to grocery stores due to flooding. There are many, MANY items you can include an an emergency preparedness kits, but the following items are definite must haves.
1. Non-Perishable Food & Can Opener
Food is one of the most important items to have in your emergency preparedness kit. While you may be able to drive around town after a natural disaster, it doesn’t mean that stores will be open, or that incoming deliveries can be made to your local shops. All that means you will be living off whatever food you happen to have in your pantry, and hopefully your planned emergency kit. Begin storing non-perishable foods that have long shelf-lives, such as peanut butter, beans, crackers, canned and dried fruit. If you have a baby and use formula, make sure you stock up keep on hand. You should gather enough food for at least 3 days, but there’s no harm in having more. Be sure to buy food that your picky eaters will actually eat, and check your expiration dates twice a year to swap out closely expiring foods.
It is recommended to store 1 gallon of water, per person, per day and you should store at least 3 days worth for your emergency preparedness kit. You can store flats of small water bottles or buy large jugs, whatever best suits your storage situation. Be sure not to forget water for pets! It’s also a good idea to purchase water purification tablets in the event you run out of water. Be sure to check the expiration dates every few months and rotate out water so you always have fresh options.
3. First Aid Kit
Always have a basic first aid kit as part of your emergency preparedness kit. In addition to the normal bandages, gauze, antiseptic and tape products, it’s a good idea to add items such as medications, gloves, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, scissors and a tourniquet. While we never want to think those items will be necessary, it’s better to have them in the event that you need them and can potentially save a loved ones life.
Loss of electricity is very common in the event of a natural disaster, and no one wants kids who are afraid of the dark to be even more terrified! Stock your kit and more importantly your home with flashlights that are easily accessed. You can find small flashlights at dollar stores that work just as well as expensive versions, and they are especially perfect for children. I recommend testing them every few months to make sure they still work and that the bulbs haven’t burned out.
You will need batteries for those flashlights, but also other potentially helpful items like radios and clocks. Be sure to purchase enough to power your items, and well as backup batteries. It’s also a good idea to purchase solar powered chargers for items like your phone, that don’t take traditional batteries.
6. Hygiene & Pet Care Items
Pack hygiene items like soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, feminine hygiene products, diapers and wipes, razors and moist toilettes. For your fur babies, make sure you have plenty of pet food, toys, and an extra collar and ID.
Pack extra underwear, pants, shoes, socks, shirts, sweatshirts and jackets in your emergency preparedness kit. If you have to leave your home, it’s a good idea to keep it in an easy to carry container, like a backpack or tote. Pack several changes of clothes in the event you can’t return to your home right away.
In the event of a disaster, you may not have access to a bank or be able to use credit or debit cards. Start funneling away cash and keeping safely in your kit so you have access if you need it.
9. Special Needs Items
Every family has items they will need that otherwise don’t fit into a normal category. Some of these items may include special medications, contact lens solution, contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids or comforting items. Make sure you have enough for several days and check several times a year to make sure your items are still in good working order.
10. Photocopies of Important Documents
It’s wise to make photocopies of important documents so that you have extras if you can’t access the original document, or lose it in a natural disaster. Some ideas would be making a copy of school records, your children’s immunization records, identification, birth certificates, marriage certificate and even credit card copies. Make sure you store these in a SAFE manner, so they can’t be stolen or used without your permission.