Imagine that there has been a major disaster in Kansas City. The electricity is off, stores are closed, travel is difficult and emergency responders are requesting that everyone stay indoors. Or what if everyone ran to the store before a major winter storm and the food shelves were empty when you got there? Do you have the supplies on hand to take care of your family for at least 72 hours? What if the emergency happened while you were in your car or at work?
Emergency kits contain basic items to take of your needs for a short period of time. Some items in your kit will be specific to your family’s needs. Other things are pretty universal and most of us will need them. Let’s cover the basics.
72 hour family kit
This kit will be stored at home and have enough supplies to sustain each member of your family for at least 3 days. Basic kit contents include:
- Food – nonperishable that requires minimal preparation
- Water – 1 gallon per person per day
- First aid kit and list of prescription medications
- Flashlight with extra batteries, glow sticks, etc.
- Communications – battery powered AM/FM radio, crank or solar cell phone chargers, and emergency whistle
- Change of clothes appropriate to the season and weather, sturdy shoes
- Sanitation supplies – toilet paper/tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, feminine hygiene products, etc.
- Tools – gas shut off wrench, large crescent wrench, pliers, multi-tool, duct tape, scissors, and plastic sheeting or tarps
- Copies of important documents – personal identification, birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, will, deeds, insurance, emergency contact list etc. You might want to save these on a secured jump drive or keep in a safety deposit box or other secure location.
- Miscellaneous – cash ($100 or more in small bills), extra house/car keys, entertainment such as books, games and toys
- Special needs such as diapers and baby food, extra eye glasses, etc.
- Anything else you think you might need – there really is no right or wrong way to develop your 72 hour kit, as long as it contains the supplies you think you need.
Store your kit in a duffle bag or plastic tote that is easy to grab and take with you in the event you need to evacuate.
Car Emergency Kit
Emergencies can occur when you are in your car. From traffic accidents to severe weather you may find yourself in need of some emergency supplies while on the road. A basic car kit contains the following:
- 1 gallon of water
- Food – non perishable
- Cash – small bills stored out of site
- Road maps
- Tools – jumper cables, tire repair kit, jack, etc.
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Auto cell phone charger, batter powered radio
- Items for the season
- Spring – umbrella, rain poncho, etc.
- Summer – shade tarp, sun screen, and additional water
- Fall – light jacket
- Winter – snow shovel, ice melt, ice scraper, extra coat, hat, gloves, boots, etc.
Store your kit in a backpack or gym bag so you can take it with you if need be.
Office Emergency Kit
Many of us spend at least 8 hours of our day at work and some of us spend much longer. It is very possible that you could be at your place of business when an emergency happens. Imagine being stuck at work for a few hour past quitting time or what would happen if you or a co-worker had an injury when emergency responders are delayed. Some basic office emergency kit supplied include:
- Food and water for your personal use
- Flashlight with extra batters
- Battery powered AM/FM radio
- First aid kit and list of medications
- Personal hygiene kit
- Extra eye glasses, hearing aid batteries, etc.
- Entertainment such as books or deck of cards
- Cash – in small bills
- Copy of family emergency plan with contact phone numbers
Store your kit in a small gym bag or cinch sack so you can take it with you if need be.
Preparing three or more emergency kits may seem overwhelming at first glance. But like many things, the hard part is just getting started. We suggest making a list of everything your family will need for each kit. Then gather up the items you already own. You might be surprised at what you already have. It just needs to be organized in a central location. Prioritize the remaining items on your list and pick up a couple of things each week. It is better to have some of what you need than none of what you need.
Learn the basic items that belong in a pet emergency kit.