Consolidate Your Home Emergency Kit Now

Photo: KOMUnews

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.


Comments

    I'm less worried about batteries and chargers now. Just bought a 2kva inverter generator for a touch over $300 (lots of cumulative discounts ftw!) They've become so cheap they're actually a viable item to purchase and just leave in the garage for emergencies (been having problems with blackouts). Uses straight unleaded same as the lawnmower, so it's easy to make sure there's plenty of fuel on hand (or get more).

    Because it's an inverter generator regular AC devices will plug straight into it. And a 2kva generator is ample for a reasonable sized fridge, an LCD TV and a bunch of lights (especially if you've got eco friendly ones like LEDs). You'd probably be able to run a microwave on it too, but need to unplug the other devices.

    If you're thinking of damage to the house as part of the emergency (eg: storms) it's worth adding some rope and lighter cord and a poly-tarp or two (ideally a large one and a small one) to the kit. I'd also make sure you had hammer & nails and a pack of heavy duty cable ties (they're great for tying down a tarp in an emergency).

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