It’s the time of year when thunderstorms, tornadoes, and wildfires are raging, and the hurricane season is ramping up for coastal communities.
If a disaster was to hit your area, would you be prepared?
Creating and establishing emergency kits and plans are something we all know we need to do, but often don’t make time for. As you get the family ready to start school in the coming weeks, it’s also the perfect time to stock or refresh your emergency preparedness kits and update your family plans.
A quick Google search for “emergency kits” can leave your head spinning and your budget aching, as some take preparedness to an extreme level.
To keep things easy and cost-effective, I’m breaking it all down for you today so you can create your own DIY emergency kit in case disaster strikes!
Quick tip: Using Amazon coupons is a great way to find great deals emergency kit supplies and containers. From bandages to flashlights, jumper cables to board games for the littles, you’ll find all your DIY emergency kit contents on Amazon!
The emergency kit
Source: I’m an Organizing Junkie
Emergency preparedness starts with having an emergency kit like this one from I’m an Organizing Junkie: A collection of necessities that can be grabbed and/or used the moment an emergency arises. Most experts suggest assembling supplies and foods to last your entire family a full three days.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published a basic list to guide you in your kit assembly, and also suggests additional items for added comfort.
Basic disaster supplies kit
• Water for drinking and sanitation: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
• 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
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic 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
Look for coupons for non-perishable food items like Nature Valley granola bars, Jif To Go Dippers, and Lärabar fruit and nut bars, plus coupons for Energizer and Duracell batteries, Hefty trash bags, and Glad or Ziploc bags.
Additional emergency supplies
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Cash or traveler’s checks and change
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person — consider adding additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
• Complete change of clothing for each person, 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
Quick tip: When diluted to 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 one gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners, and check for Clorox coupons to save some extra money!
• Fire extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items like toilet paper
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
Basic first aid kit
• 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
• Non-prescription drugs:
• Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Once your supplies are assembled, give some thought as to how best to store the items for your family and lifestyle. Make sure the place you choose is easy to access for all family members (including little kids) and not prone to flooding or other damage. Here are a few clever solutions to help you out!
1. Storage shelves
Source: A Bowl Full of Lemons
A dedicated shelf in the garage or basement is a tidy way to keep emergency items corralled and easy to find when needed. Use inexpensive backpacks to pack clothes, shoes and food for each family member.
2. Five-gallon bucket
Source: Five Gallon Ideas
Create a five-gallon bucket emergency kit for each family member to keep in a dedicated zone or bedroom. The generous size makes for lots of packing room, while the handle allows for easy grabbing and going.
3. Plastic tubs
Keep it simple by using plastic, easy-to-find, stackable tubs. Make sure they’re clearly labeled and easily accessible in case of an emergency.
4. Family emergency binder
Source: A Bowl Full of Lemons
Having an emergency kit is only the first step in safely weathering a storm or emergency. Spend some time developing a family emergency binder.
Tuck in copies of important paperwork and make plans for a variety of emergency situations. Assemble everything into a binder and update it regularly — especially after a move! Things to include in your family emergency binder include:
- Copies of important family documents: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, wills, medical directives, deeds, and titles
- Medical paperwork
- List of medications and dosages
- Bank and insurance account and password information
- Maps of the local area
- Important family and local phone numbers
- Family plan for a house fire, natural disaster, or acts of terror
- Family rally location
- Cash or travelers checks
5. Don’t forget!
Even as you assemble the basic necessities, safely pack and store it all away, and develop emergency plans, don’t forget to account for other unique needs in your family.
Source: How Does She?
If you have kids, consider packing a kid-friendly emergency kit alongside your other essentials. Include games, coloring books/crayons, favorite non-perishable snacks, kid-friendly hygiene supplies, and stuffed animals or comfort blankets.
Don’t forget to check for Pampers coupons before you shop for kid-friendly supplies.
Source: More Style Than Cash
If you have pets in your family, you also need to plan out for their emergency needs. Food, treats, plastic bags, leashes, medication, and medical paperwork should all be included in your pet emergency kit.
Source: New Life on a Homestead
If you’re required to evacuate, you don’t want your emergency situation to escalate because of car-related problems. Stock a car kit with phone chargers, jumper cables, a mini first aid kit, flashlight, tire repair kit, bottled water, extra quart of oil, road reflectors, and the other car-related essentials found in this comprehensive checklist.
While the chances of needing an emergency kit are relatively low, you don’t want to be caught unprepared when a disaster does occur. Don’t let another extreme weather season pass you by without getting your emergency supplies organized.
Use these tips, tricks, and ideas to gather and store your family essentials and put an emergency plan in place. Spending a bit of time and money to get your family prepared for an emergency or natural disaster today can mean the difference between life and death down the road.