What do you keep in your car and home to help you through emergencies?
Over the last week I posted about reasons to be prepared and how to start, how to set up a BOB (bug out bag), and even threw in a little fun in the mix with preparedness Monday memes. Today, I am going to give you ideas of how to get your car and home ready for an emergency.
As I noted before, these lists are basic lists to help you get started. Your preparedness supplies should be specified to your own wants and needs. Good luck, I pray that none of you will ever need them, but in case you do they will help you through a difficult situation.
For the Car:
This list should be an add on of the stuff you already keep in your car, which is jumper cables, window scrapers, flares/emergency triangles, and extra car fluids.
- Flashlight – with batteries kept separate
- Food (granola/protein bars, nuts, etc)
- First aid kit (due to our medical backgrounds we based our first aid kit off an EMT jump bag)
- Rags or old towels
- Fire extinguisher
- Large black garbage bags – at least 2
- Optional: empty water containers
For the Home:
To get your home prepared for emergencies you will need to ask yourself some questions.
- Who are you preparing for? Just you? Your family, spouse and children? Extended family?
- When something happens – what’s the plan? Are you going to stay where you are? Planning to go somewhere else? You can have different plans for different scenarios. Flooding or fires, you kinda need to get out quick. Whereas a blizzard or power outage may have you staying where you are.
- What length of time do I want to prepare for? Do I want to just keep to the 72 hour suggestion, or do I want my supplies to last longer?
- What do I need? Prepare lists of what you need.
Who are you preparing for?
The number of people that you are preparing for adjusts your needs. Here is a basic list of what you will need per person:
- Water – at least one gallon per day
- Amount of food will depend upon the person. A childs’ needs are different then an adults. Start by figuring 3 meals a day per person – with snacks (if possible) and adjust from there.
If you are planning to have people come to you, you may want a little extra just in case they don’t bring their own supplies.
What’s the plan?
Figuring out what your plan is will help you figure out what you need and where it will be stored.
If your plan is to stay home you can store your supplies in a garage, basement or even a shed. Food is also a little more flexible because you can go with canned goods. Also, if you plan to shelter-in-place, a good portion of this list won’t pertain to you. You can compile it if you want, as a precaution – which is always a good idea – but it really depends upon your level of comfort. At what point in your preparedness do you feel like you are prepared? That is an individual question – nobody can answer that, but you.
If your plan is to evacuate you will want your supplies much more accessible. When you are in a time crunch, you don’t want to have to be running up and down stairs or all over your house to find everything. Keeping everything in a central place (like a garage) will make it easy to be able to be loaded into a vehicle and will make everything much easier for you. It also cuts the chance of leaving something crucial behind. FYI: In this case dehydrated food packs will be much easier to move then cans due to weight.
Length of time:
Length of time can also change with your plan. If you are planning on staying put you may decide that you want a month of food supplies on hand. But if you are looking to leave, you may want just a few days, enough to keep you until you get to X.
What do I need:
The basics to start with are food and water.
Food: I personally don’t stick to a specific list. Every individual and family is different in their wants and needs. What I may have in my supplies may be completely different than what you may eat and vice versa. I have beans, rice and baking staples for our family’s preparedness foods, but that’s what we eat regularly. I also know how to cook them without electricity. But if you have never cooked with them, it’s probably not a good idea to have them for emergencies. Not knowing how to cook them or having something “different” may just raise your stress level.
If you really want to start with a list, I suggest a simple internet search. And if you do decide to invest in the ‘traditional’ foods (beans, rice, flour, etc.) – I would suggest that you do yourself a favor and invest the time into learning how to cook with them. But really if you just pay attention to what you eat over a set number of days, and write it down, you have a good basis of what you need, you will just need to multiply it by the amount of time you want to be prepared for.
Remember – getting your home prepared for emergencies is supposed to help relieve the stress that you will have during an emergency.
After you have figured out what you need, the next step is to get it. A frugal way to do this is to keep a list handy of what you want/need and every time you go to the store buy a few things from your list. Or if you just want everything done, stop by a big box store and buy in bulk. Remember whatever you buy will need to be properly stored and rotated to make sure that it stays good.
Another way to prepare food for an emergency is to buy a dehydrated food kit. You can find these almost anywhere now days or you can look online for ‘survival food kits’. There are so many to choose from it’s not funny. Really it depends upon what you want. You may want to even see if you can buy a couple individual packages and try them, before you buy any bulk of them. Just to see if you like how they taste. A couple good thing about this option is that they usually come in a storage bucket. Which makes it easy for storing/moving. They also typically have a long shelf life – up to 25 years – so you don’t need to worry about rotating your supplies as frequently.
Another option for food is MRE’s – or Meal, Ready-to-Eat. These are high calorie meals that are already cooked. They can heated up but it is not necessary. To check out this options you can look at websites like MREdepot.com, or check out your local military surplus store.
Optional ideas for food: I also keep a few other items with our food. These are: IV hydration powder packets, Vitamin C powder packets and we have a small variety of candy – a little bit of chocolate can go a long way to improving your mental health! (It helps me anyway!)
Water: The CDC states ” at least a 3-day supply of water for each person… Try to store a 2-week supply if possible.” A good gauge is 1 gallon a day per person. If it is hot outside, you will need more. The one gallon a day is for drinking and sanitation, but I would at least opt for a gallon per day for each, drinking and sanitation. That way you could at least brush your teeth and give yourself a wipe down to at least try to feel a little human during the ordeal.
Other items to keep in your home preparedness supplies:
- can opener (if you have canned goods in your food supply)
- plates/cups/utensils – or mess kits (if you get paper supplies, they can be burned)
- basic pots/pans – if intending to cook
- paper towels
- aluminum foil/plastic wrap/ziplock bags
- knife/serving spoon(s)/spatulas
- garbage bags
- dish soap
- water containers
- water filter
- long neck lighter
- steel wool/washing pads
- optional: camp stove w/fuel, kettle, percolator/french press (you won’t be wanting to go thru an emergency without coffee!)
- lighting: candles, solar powered lanterns, oil lanterns, flashlights (batteries kept separate), glow sticks, outdoor solar powered lights, head lamps. Decide on what you think would be best and safe. We have a little of each.
- regular or emergency radio, battery, solar powered or crank powered (if battery – keep batteries seperate)
- fire extinguisher
- plastic sheeting (if window breaks, etc.)
- duct tape
- basic tools/utility knife/multipurpose tool/scissors
- work gloves
- extra batteries
- self defense item
Hygiene: Remember – you won’t be bathing as you normally would. And on that happy note…
- liquid hand sanitizer
- dry shampoo – then water isn’t needed
- feminine hygiene items
- brush and hair ties
- first aid kit (opt for a really good one)
- washcloths/hand towels
- fingernail clippers/scissors
- optional: moist towelettes
- extra pain eyeglasses/contacts (and solution to clean if using contacts)
- extra set of keys
- sunblock/bug spray
- copies of important documents (insurances, medical records, financial records, family addresses/phone number)
- money (small bills with coins)
- phone charger
- activities – especially if you have children. I would opt against anything that needs batteries, or anything that would need to be plugged in (think basic! nothing that needs to be plugged in or needs batteries: books, games, cards, puzzles, activity books, color books, writing/drawing paper, pens, markers, crayons, scissors)
- small sewing kit
- optional: solar charger/power bank, emergency toilet
- 3 sets of clothes per person (with underwear and socks)
- cold weather gear for each person
- sleeping bags/blankets
Other things to remember:
- kids needs (diapers/formula/etc.)
- special diets
- Remember your animals! You will need food, water, food/water bowls, carriers, leashes, muzzles, medications, blankets, medical records/vaccinations.
After you have everything compiled a good thing to do is to go over your daily routine. Just a quick overview will help you realize if there is anything that would come in handy and help you more during an emergency.
Good luck with your preparations!
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