A home emergency kit contains some basic supplies that can help you get by in case of a power or hydro outage. Ideally, having a home emergency kit ready should allow you to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in case of an emergency. The kit should also be usable in an event where evacuating the home may be a possibility.
The key to preparing for an emergency is not only to have food, water, a battery operated flashlight, and radio on hand but also easy accessibility to your home emergency kit. It is recommended to make sure that the kit is well- equipped, organized and easy to find. Making the emergency kit portable is also an advantage and ensuring that everyone at home knows its location will make matters in an emergency easier for everyone.
What to have in a home emergency kit
When preparing a home emergency kit make sure to gather supplies that can help you and your family for at least 72 hours in an emergency. It may be already assembled for use at any time, or try to put it together well in advance of an emergency if you should need to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Here is how to get started:
- Water: Following an emergency, clean drinking water may not be readily available or the regular water source may be cut off or compromised. To cope with this possibility, ideally two liters of water per person per day should be included in an emergency kit. It is a useful tip to include smaller bottles that may also be carried in case of an evacuation. Children, nursing mothers and invalids may need more water.
- Food: It is recommended to use only those food items that are non-perishable and will not spoil. This means including canned food, energy bars, granola, and dried fruits among others. Also, remember to replace the food items and water once a year.
Another consideration when selecting food for an emergency kit is to keep in mind any special dietary needs, such as allergies or food intolerances and choose only those items that will not make you overly thirsty. Instead, opt for items that have a higher liquid content.
- Manual can opener: Since the food items will primarily be canned goods, do not forget to pack a manual can opener.
- Flashlight and batteries
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Extra car keys and house keys
- Cash: Include smaller bills such as $10 bills along with some traveller’s cheques and change for payphones.
- Cell phone with chargers, inverters or solar charger
- Emergency plan
Grab and Go Emergency Kits
Emergency kits can be prepared as evacuation grab and go kits. In a grab and go emergency kit, the following items should also be included along with those kept in an at home kit.
- Important documents: Make sure to include copies of documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, proof of address, land deeds, insurance documentation and immunization records in the emergency kit. If there is a serious on-going medical condition, any relevant paperwork should also be included. Finally, a list of family and emergency contact information is also useful to include in the kit.
- Personal hygiene items: Items like soap, toothbrush and toothpaste along with need to be part of the emergency kit.
- Special medical supplies: For those who need to take prescription medicine or other supplies like an inhaler, EpiPen, hearing aids, glasses or contact lenses, these special needs items should always be part of the emergency kit, exclusive of the regular first aid kit.
- Baby supplies: For infants, prepare a kit that carries enough infant formula for them. Also make sure that there is sufficient water supply to prepare the formula. Plus, baby items like baby food, diapers and extra clothing should also be included.
- A few changes of clothing
- Warm Blanket
- Multipurpose tool or device
- Local map
Remember to put your home emergency kit in a duffle bag, backpack or even suitcase with wheels in case you need to evacuate your home in an emergency. Preparing multiple kits for every member of the family can help distribute the load and make carrying the kit easier.