Consolidate Your Home Emergency Kit Now

Consolidate Your Home Emergency Kit Now

Remember when you bought a new can opener because you thought you lost your old one? What do you plan on doing with that half-used roll of duct tape that’s collecting dust in your garage? The last time you used that flashlight in the kitchen junk drawer was to pretend to be a jedi, wasn’t it? These are all items you probably have lying around that you can consolidate into a home emergency kit. It might just save you and your family’s lives.

The goal is to create a 72-hour emergency kit, which should be able to keep you and your kin going strong for three days straight without power or any outside help. As you go through your big decluttering project, either for spring cleaning or for a garage sale, keep a lookout for useful goods in an emergency. For starters, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with an empty plastic bin, or a backpack or duffle bag nobody has used in a while. Grab it and start filling it with these items if you come across them while you purge:

  • 72 hours worth of non-perishable food (canned or dried goods you’ve been holding onto but are just taking up space in your cupboard)
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (for the flashlight)
  • Whistle
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Can opener
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Matches
  • Bleach (when diluted with nine parts water to one part bleach, can be used as a disinfectant)
  • Extra cell phone charger (make sure it’s for your current phone), or solar powered battery
  • 72 hours worth of necessary medication
  • Formula and diapers for babies
  • Food and water for pets
  • Extra pair of contacts or glasses (old prescriptions are better than nothing)
  • Extra clothing (put together an outfit from the pile of clothes you’re giving away)
  • Something personal that makes each member of the household feel comfortable (candy, toys, games, books, coffee, tea, etc.)

And here are some other items that you should buy to have in your emergency kit that you’re less likely to randomly find around the house:

  • Dust mask
  • Extra first aid kit (this should be separate from your normal household first aid kit)
  • Extra moist towelettes or baby wipes
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio/NOAA Weather Radio
  • 72 hours worth of water (sealed bottles, cans, or boxes of water — not water you fill up into sports bottles at home)
  • Local maps (waterproof if they have them)
  • Mylar thermal blankets

It’s a good idea to toss a piece of paper with credit and debit card numbers (with security codes) in your kit as well, along with some cash. Card systems might go down in an emergency. Once your kit is put together, find a place where it can be easily accessed and store it there.

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