The risks you and your family may face—wildfires, terrorist attacks, flooding, earthquakes—are among the most important factors to consider in deciding what goes in your emergency bag. FEMA, the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all provide checklists to help you get started. Building from there, here are additional items to include in an emergency bag for yourself, your family and your pets.
Water: Store bottles or pouches of water and gallons of potable water, but if you have to move, it’s best to carry a portable filtration system. Iodine water purification tablets are a simpler, nearly weightless alternative.
Food: Three days’ worth of nonperishable food can come in many forms, including survival food bars that contain 2,000 calories, or a few boxes of your preferred energy bars.
Portable Lighting: Flashlights and tea candles are ideal for setting up emergency lighting around a home or in a shelter, but a headlamp is compact and frees up both hands.
An Emergency Whistle: If your cellphone cannot get service or the battery is drained, a simple signaling whistle is great for alerting emergency rescue crews.
A Dust Mask: A simple painter’s mask or surgical mask will do in any kit, although more advanced models can filter out a wider variety of smaller particulates and last much longer.
Solar Chargers: A solar charger will charge devices as large as a tablet with a day’s worth of sun. If there is very little sunlight, rechargeable battery packs are the next-best option.
Miscellaneous Items: Pack a few days’ supply of personal medications and prescriptions (especially life-preserving ones), as well as medical items you rely upon, like glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment and supplies. Also pack a spare pair of glasses, sanitary towelettes, paper maps of your area, tweezers, scissors, duct tape, wind-resistant matches, and cash, traveler’s checks or change.
For One Person
Here are some items to keep on you or at the ready in your home or office, in addition to the basics.
A Multi-Tool: These tools can help with performing first-aid, making fires and repairing machinery or electronics.
Spare Clothing: Consider the three basic layers for weatherproofing: base (something that wicks away moisture and maintains body temperature), insulation (puffy jackets stuffed with wool or down), and shell (wind- and rain-resistant, but also breathable).
A Weather/Emergency Radio: Radio is your best bet to get up-to-date information on weather patterns, evacuation orders or official news from the authorities. Select one that can be powered by battery, hand crank, solar energy or USB.
For a Family
Here are some more items to include if you’re providing for several people.
Mylar Blankets: These are a lighter alternative to sleeping bags. They are windproof, waterproof and capable of reflecting more than 90 percent of your body heat.
Bleach: Household chlorine bleach when diluted, can be used as a disinfectant, or to treat water, according to FEMA.
Waterproof Container: Practical for storing perishable or sensitive materials, such as insurance policies, copies of identification and any other documents you want to stay dry and safe.
Miscellaneous Items: Consider your family’s specific additional needs. Infant formula and diapers can be difficult to find in an emergency situation. You should also pack books, games, or puzzles, to keep children busy and occupied.
For Your Pets
A few days’ supply of pet food, extra water and any medications your pet may need are essential. For cat owners or anyone with other small animals, consider packing some extra blankets in their pet carrier, so you can grab it all on the way out in an emergency.
Adapted from an article by Kenneth Rosen on nytimes.com.
This material is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, no representation is made as to its accuracy. This material is not intended to be construed as legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult your legal, tax or investment professional for specific advice.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.
**With hurricanes there is some time to prepare but the lines to Home Depot in Miami and Fort Lauderdale were impossible last year during Irma. Better to get your emergency kit ready PRIOR to having an emergency and ready.