Got Your Emergency Kit At the Ready?

By Candyce Fulford (Candyce) on March 12, 2010

An emergency can strike any of us at any time. It's not something we want to think about. What can you do to prepare now, before an emergency happens?


In early December of 2008, an ice storm struck New Hampshire, snapping branches, uprooting ancient trees, and downing power lines.  As New Englanders, we are usually prepared for power outages, but we were not prepared for one that would last for ten days!

We were, however, prepared for at least a week's stretch of time without power.  We had put together a family emergency kit months before and had it safely stored away for times such as this.

It's important to realize that there may come a time when you and your family may need to survive on your own for several days after a natural disaster or a national emergency.  This means that you need to prepare an Emergency Plan and an Emergency Kit now.

What you should put into your Emergency Kit depends on the size, ages, and needs of your family members. 

Here's a basic idea of what to keep 'at the ready':

If you are staying in your home

  • At least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and washing (a three-day supply is recommended)
  • Enough non-perishable food to last each person three days
  • A battery powered or hand crank radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Extra batteries for the radio
  • A flashlight for each person with extra batteries
  • A First Aid Kit2010-03-13/Candyce/3cb56e
  • A whistle, in case you need to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal santiation)
  • Wrenches or pliers to turn off utilities
  • A manual can opener (somehow we never seem to remember these!)
  • A cell phone with charger, inverter or solar charger
  • Prescription medications, glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra supplies for your pets
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Matches or lighters
  • Candles and some sterno
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Books, board games, puzzles, etc. for the children
  • Paper and pens or pencils
  • Regular household bleach

Whe2010-03-13/Candyce/ebba97n diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  In an emergency, you can use bleach to treat water by adding 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water.

If you must leave your home to go to a shelter, be sure you pack:

Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

Cash or traveler's checks and change

Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information

A notebook which contains all the contact information for family members, doctors, etc.

Needless to say, we all made it through the Ice Storm of 2008 very well.  We were lucky enough to be able to use the town's Emergency Building, which had just finished being built the previous year, for taking showers and communicating with the outside world as they had a generator.

We all learned to enjoy the quiet of the evenings, and to go to bed snuggled under extra blankets, and to draw straws to see who was going to stay up all night to keep the woodstove going. 

The Ice Storm, while an awesome learning experience, left us with great memories of family times together, the charity and kindness of neighbors, and some great once-in-a-lifetime photographs!

Are YOU ready?


Photos by Samantha French, the author's granddaughter

Related articles:
emergency checklist, emergency kit, emergency plan, family communications plan, family emergency plan, survival kit

About Candyce Fulford
"If it's not fun, I won't do it."
So says Candyce, who has been a Fly Lady devotee for several years.

Candyce brings her sense of humor to Homemakers' Haven, a website where people can share the fun and the not-so-fun, the laughter and the tears, and companionship and encouragement as we take care of our families and our homes.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Timely Maridell Nov 29, 2010 8:28 AM 6

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