This has been a tough post to write. You might have noticed that the other posts on emergency prep were two weeks earlier! But writing this post has been tricky for me for two reasons: 1. I am worried about leaving something out (hello, perfectionist!), and 2. I haven’t finished our kit yet. It feels weird to not have my own kit done and yet be posting about what should be. Maybe it will inspire me?
Here is what I’ve come up with, though: Any preparation is a good thing. Anything you do is a step in the right direction. So don’t let your inner perfectionist keep you from this important prep.
An emergency kit is a container or spot in your house where you have supplies gathered. You could do something like a 20 gallon plastic bin, or simply use shelves or piles! This should be somewhere not in the way, but also not too difficult to get to: a basement, your garage, etc.
What should be in your kit? I’m still working on ours, but here are some things I would add in:
- Water. The recommendation is 3 gallons per person (plus extra for pets)
- Food. Something that is high calorie, high nutrition, doesn’t spoil quickly, and doesn’t need heating to be palatable is good: protein bars, canned soup, canned fruit, peanut butter, maybe LaBriute meals. You should also include special needs: formula, pet food, boxed milk, etc. You can also include treats for kids (or adults: chocolate!)
- First-aid kit: you can buy this or make it. You’ll need band-aids, gauze, ointment, tape, ace bandage, OTC meds like acetaminophen (don’t forget kid or baby formulations and a dosage chart), respirator/surgical masks, etc.
- Any necessary prescription medications. A 7 day supply should be adequate in case you need to rely on it for a while.
- Diapers and wipes, and bags for waste. Enough said.
- Tools: a wrench for turning off the water/gas, a can opener, utility knife, etc.
- Clothing, including shoes. Get a complete set for each person, preferably with several layers to adjust for temperature, and an extra set or two of underwear for each.
- At least one blanket per person
- Waterproof matches
- Fire extinguisher
- Whistles (for getting attention of rescuers as needed)
- Flashlights and extra batteries for each person
- Battery, solar, or hand cranked radio
- Duct tape and 4 ml or thicker plastic sheeting
- Bleach and hand sanitizer to sanitize as needed
- Documents: Keep a copy of your important documents: passports, driver’s license, birth certificates, SSN, bank account info, credit cards, will, living will, etc. Anything that might be lost and still necessary.
- Siddur, tehillim, and/or benchers
- Shabbat kit: Box of matza, bottle of grape juice, baggie with salt, tea lights, a multiwick candle nub, a baggie of spices, etc. (note: matza is not normally motzi for Sefardim, but I’m not sure what else would work long-term!)
- Other miscellaneous personal items: feminine care products, dry shampoo, deodorant, tooth brushes and toothpaste…
- Cash: Keep some money on hand, knowing that it might be difficult to find an ATM, or a working ATM!
- Garbage bags
- A phone with a cord (if you have a home phone line), or a battery charger if you have one
- Fun stuff! Bring some things that are fun for the possible long wait: board game, deck of cards, crayons and paper, coloring books, puzzles, etc…
One more thing needs to be said about this: how to keep everything updated! But that’s for another post.
Do you have an emergency kit? Anything else you would add?