How to prepare an Emergency Kit for your home and car
Winter storms are rare here in the Metro Atlanta area, but when they do hit, how do we deal with them? Yesterday the snow started around 10:30 in areas across Atlanta. The weather was in the 60’s just a few days before. Monday night I received an alert from the national weather indicating a major winter storm watch for our area, beginning Wednesday morning, after tracking the radar most of the night, you could see the storm was coming in early and going to hit hard. Thankfully, most of Fayette County took heed and closed businesses and schools, unlike other areas, such as Atlanta.
Now the mayor of Atlanta is saying the best hope we can get is warm weather, but today will not get much about freezing. The strong winter storm is a rarity for one of U.S.’s most congested cities.
How do we better prepare ourselves and family for these kind of events. What we need to remember is a storm or disaster or even an accident can happen anytime, anywhere.
One basic essential should always be an emergency supply kit for the home and car. And, if you can a one day bug out bag. Something, I made for all of my children.
What goes in an emergency supply kit? I will start with what you should keep in your vehicle. This is so critical. I can’t stress enough how these two simple kits can save your life.
This kit should include:
- Jumper cables
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
- Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
- Water for each person and pet in your car
- AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
- Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
- Ice scraper
- Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.
You may say, we don’t have storms that often. Ask yourself is $50-$100 in a kit that stays in my car and last season after season, worth it? Remember these kits are also for any emergency, like disasters, storms, accidents, etc. Don’t be a victim. Be prepared.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both. Yes, we also have alerts on our phone, but in some cases, the phone will not work
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit (I will list general items for it below)
- Whistle to signal for help (Very Important) Make sure every family member has one when walking or doing any outdoor adventures)
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- First Aid Kit
- Supplies for Unique Needs
Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers if you have kids
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change ( remember in major storms or disasters, banks, ATM’s will not be available and could be down for days to weeks)
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information from this web site. They make these in apps or you can pick up for only a few dollars on Amazon
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate. (Always keep blankets in your car in the winter)
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.
Now for your First Aid Kit (First Aid Kits such as this can easily be may for under $20. Most of these things you will already have.
Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.
- Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
- Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
- Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Burn ointment
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
- Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
Other first aid supplies:
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
These are simple life saving kits. Another thing everyone should make is an emergency plan, that includes numbers of loved ones, in state and out of state. Locations to meet in case of disaster, such as a local place to meet close to your house, one in the county and one that is about 3-6 hours away. Remember, in some disasters, the local phone system may not be operational. So having a contact out of state, that all the family knows is a good idea.
Stay Safe and Be Prepared,