Whether you’re stuck in your car during a snow storm, evacuating before a hurricane hits, fleeing a wildfire or dealing with another emergency, you’ll be safer and less likely to experience serious problems if you have an emergency bag in your home or car. A small bag or box packed with a few crucial supplies can give you and your loved ones an extra layer of safety and security.
Country Living recently provided a good starter list of items for a personal emergency bag you can build on, based on your area of the country and what type of emergencies you might experience. Here are some tips for how to best prepare for emergency situations, and some key items you’ll want to include in your emergency bag.
Even if you’re ready to pack your car and head out at a moment’s notice, you and your loved ones will be in much better shape if you have an emergency plan ready. Create plans for a variety of scenarios that might include heading to your basement or local shelter on short notice, or leaving town for days or weeks.
Make sure you’re able to quickly secure your house in the event you’ll be gone for days at a time. Have a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses in your glove compartment, emergency bag or on your computer. Keep a printed list—your phone and laptop batteries won’t last forever. Make sure you can access your bank account, email account and other electronic necessities.
Have a plan to stay in touch with your employer or employees during an extended emergency. Make sure you know how to quickly contact all of your children’s schools, tutors, sports venues or other places they go on a regular basis. Make sure your children know how to get in touch with you during a storm, fire or other disaster, or where to go if they can’t reach you.
What To Keep In Your Personal Bag
In a portable bag you can carry with you, keep the following items:
- Energy bars
- Sports drinks or water
- Personal medications (keep them up to date)
- First aid kit
- Child care items
- Pet care items
- Handy wipes
- Bug spray
- Rubber gloves
What To Keep In Your Vehicle
Your vehicle can be your “lifeboat” during a variety of emergency situations. Keep the following items in your vehicle:
- Flashlights – Keep one large and one small flashlight.
- Batteries – Replace your batteries every six months, at the same time you change batteries in your home fire detectors.
- Jumper cables – Consider a battery starter instead of cables so you can jump your battery if no other vehicles are around.
- Flares – Makes sure other vehicles can see you if you pull off to the side of the road.
- Blankets – You might have to spend the night in cold weather.
- Shovel/scraper – Make sure you can get ice off your windshield and snow or other debris from underneath your tires.
- Road salt – This can help you get up slippery slopes.
Other Must-Have Safety Items
In the event you can’t make it to a hotel, friends’ home or other shelter, have a tub or box of safety items ready for use indoors and out:
- Blankets/sleeping bag/bedding
- Pet items (blanket, leash, food, medicine)
- Portable space heater
- Waterproof boots
- NOAA weather radio
- Hand shovel
- Water purification tablets
- Lip balm
- Can/bottle openers
- Swiss army knife
Remember: a little preparation now can make a huge difference when it really counts.