Preparing your home emergency kit

By Sarah Frierson
If you attended a Neighborhood Night Out party, you might have noticed the Family Communication Plans that were distributed. (If you haven’t received one, please visit to download a copy.) The first step in preparing for a disaster or emergency is making a plan for your family. Where will you meet? Who will you contact? What information should every family member carry with them? By making these decisions and filling out the form, you have completed the first step in preparing your home and family for an emergency.

So, what’s next? Now it’s time to prepare your kit. Every home should have an emergency kit in the event that assistance takes several days or weeks to arrive.

First, the essentials:
•    Water: one gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days (for drinking and sanitation)
•    Food: a three-day supply of non-perishable food (Don’t forget the pet food or baby formula, if needed.)
•    Can opener
•    Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio, plus extra batteries
•    Flashlight with extra batteries
•    First Aid kit: two pairs of sterile gloves, sterile dressings, adhesive tape, antibacterial cleansing agent, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, eye wash solution, thermometer, prescription medication and supplies, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, medications (aspirin, antacid, laxative, antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, antidiarrheal medication, etc.), sunscreen, goggles, turkey baster, instant cold packs, first aid manual
•    Whistle to signal for help
•    Dust mask and heavy work gloves
•    Adjustable wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
•    Heavy-duty plastic bags, moist towelettes, plastic ties, and a bucket for sanitation
•    Cell phone with charger
•    Matches in a waterproof container
•    Cash
Additional items to consider:
•    Prescription medications and glasses
•    Copies of important documents such as insurance policies, bank account information, etc.
•    Blanket or sleeping bag
•    Plastic sheeting, duct tape, and utility knife for covering broken windows
•    Tools such as a crowbar, bungee cord, hammer, nails, etc.
•    Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. You can also use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Remember! Do not use bleach that is scented, color safe, or has added cleaners.
•    Fire extinguisher
•    Local maps
•    Paper and pencil
•    Disposable camera
•    Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
•    Mess kits, utensils, plates, and cups
•    Books, games, or other activities for children

Of course, when everything is written down it looks like a lot, but then you realize that you already have most of these things scattered around the house. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and checking things off the list. And it can’t hurt to have separate mini-kits around the house, since certain parts of the building might not be accessible in a disaster.

We’re sure that other great suggestions and ideas for what to include in your emergency kit will be presented during the CERT training program on January 15 and February 12. If you haven’t registered yet, please send an email to to reserve your spot in the class. If you signed up at a NNO party, please send a confirmation email.

For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit,, and


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