Posted on March 26, 2021
Hopefully, this article will be purely hypothetical, but if 2020 taught us anything, it's that we should be prepared! Here are a few items you can easily gather to make sure you are ready for anything.
1. First Aid Kit
There is a huge variety of pre-packed first aid kids available for purchase, ranging from tiny pouches for a few bucks to huge cabinets that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. What you need can vary based on the size of your family, where you live, and if you have any hobbies such as woodworking or biking that may present specific risks, but there are some items every basic kit should have.
First, to be ready for minor cuts and scrapes, you should have assorted adhesive bandages (standard bandages, butterfly closures, finger bandages, among others), antiseptic wipes or spray, gauze, and antibiotic ointment. You may also choose to keep anti-itch creams, burn ointments, and painkillers on hand. Make sure you have read the instructions for all of these items and know how and when to use them.
2. Emergency Lighting
Power outages can be caused by a number of situations and are often unpredictable. Depending on the time of day and year it occurs, a power outage can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a dangerous situation. The first thing you should have is reliable backup lighting--a flashlight, lantern, and/or candles. Make sure these are charged/have working batteries and that you know exactly where they are! You don't want to be fumbling around in the dark unable to find your light.
3. Warm Blankets
You may have a few of these draped over your furniture for when you are watching TV on a chilly night, but if you lose power in the winter, these can prove to be more important than you thought! Even a well-insulated home will get pretty cold if you lose heat for more than a few hours. Make sure you have a blanket at hand to cuddle up under if needed.
4. Potable Water
Water may be the single most important item for human survival. While it may seem like you have an endless supply of water in your home, situations like a water main break or a contamination at the source of the water can either cut off your access to running water or render that water unsafe to drink. FEMA recommends that you maintain a three-day supply of water. A good guideline is one gallon per person per day. There are tons of great products available for water storage, but in a pinch, you can fill your bathtub if you are anticipating an interruption to your water supply.
5. Shelf-Stable Food
Just because humans can survive several weeks without food doesn't mean it is fun, comfortable, or healthy to do so. If you lose power for an extended period of time, you can't rely on refrigerated or frozen food, so make sure you have canned goods and other shelf-stable items, such as granola bars, pasta, peanut butter, or cereal. If you have a gas stove, you should still be able to cook during a blackout, but keeping a camping stove on hand can be helpful.
6. Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher within reach can be the difference between a small mess and a life-changing disaster. Make sure to read up on recommendations from FEMA, your local fire department, or other sources to make sure you have the right kind of fire suppression tool and that you know how to use it. Your local fire department may even offer training, inspections, or other help with fire safety.
7. A Good Plan
Take the time to sit down with your family, roommates, or whoever you are living with and discuss your emergency plans. Know what you will grab if you need to leave your home, be prepared to deal with your pets, and have a meeting place set up. This can be especially important if you have young kids. Here is a guide to developing a good emergency plan for you and your family.
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