The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a good list of basic emergency supplies to have stored along with your food and water. Here’s FEMA’s list, along with our own suggestions in parentheses:
1. Prescription medications and glasses
2. Infant formula and diapers
3. Toilet paper
4. Pet food (Remember to store water for your pets too)
5. Important family documents in a waterproof, portable container (Think birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates, and important financial documents. You might also consider having a copy laminated.)
6. Cash or traveler’s checks (In an emergency, cash is king. Without electronic ways to pay, your credit card won’t mean a thing.)
7. A basic first aid manual
8. A sleeping bag or heavy blanket for each person
9. At least one change of clothes for everyone (Consider having a cool pair of clothes and a warm pair of clothes.)
10. Chlorine bleach and medicine dropper for disinfecting and for purifying drinking water
11. A fire extinguisher
12. Matches stored in a waterproof container (You can never have too many matches.)
13. Feminine supplies
14. Mess kits
15. Utensils and napkins
16. Paper and pencil
17. Activities to entertain kids (and adults)
18. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio
19. Extra batteries (You can never have too many batteries. Rechargeable batteries and solar-powered chargers can be an excellent option.)
20. A basic first aid kit
21. Flashlights (If you have kids, you might want to store enough flashlights that every kid in the family can have one so that they feel safer in scary situations.)
22. A whistle to call for help
23. Dust masks
24. Plastic sheeting and duct tape for sheltering in place
25. Garbage bags
26. Plastic ties
27. Moist towelettes or baby wipes
28. A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
29. A can opener
FEMA’s list is pretty basic but will put you in a much better situation than you might otherwise be in.
Once you have been able to gather all of their recommended items, you can go a bit farther in your emergency preparedness. Here is our own list of items you may not have thought of that are extremely useful in emergency situations:
1. FUEL. Store as much fuel as water, whether its propane, gas, kerosene, firewood and fire starter.
2. Recipes. You don’t want to be left with buckets of wheat and no idea how to make it into bread.
3. Comfort foods like chocolate, coffee or a favorite snack. Dark chocolate! Remember, never underestimate the importance of morale-boosters in emergencies.
4. Kitty litter if you have cats
5. Playing cards or games to keep you busy can help you stay calm and positive in stressful situations.
6. A full tank of gas.
7. Vitamins to complement food storage.
8. Solar lights (can get at a dollar store for very cheap- just stick in ground near front door)
9. Ways to keep cool in hot weather: fans, misters, etc.
10. An alternative cooking method. There are lots of options for alternative cooking.
11. Candles or kerosene lamps for light
13. A backup generator (and carbon monoxide detector to keep you safe while using it).
Solar-powered generators are a great option.
14. Gas containers to carry gas in
15. Saw to cut down trees if necessary
16. Box with craft supplies to keep kids entertained.
17. A basic set of hand tools
18. Containers to collect rainwater in if necessary
19. Flint and steel in case matches run out
20. A mirror. Mirrors can be useful to signal for help, and they can also be placed behind a candle to double its light projection.
21. Extra blankets to section off an area in your home to keep the area you have to heat smaller.
22. Glow-sticks. If you have to evacuate and are worried about looters, hang a glow-stick somewhere near the window to make it look like you are there, and then leave.
23. Gloves, extra socks.
24. Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, bandages, aspirin, lavender essential oil (for burns, skin irritations).
25. Watered down dish soap in large dispenser bottle for hand and body use when water is limited.
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