Organizing an Emergency Kit
On Cape Cod we've received information about what to do if our local nuclear power plant has an "accident" - stay inside and close the windows! There are many kinds of emergencies we might face related to weather or other disasters, especially as we approach the winter season. Are you and your family prepared?
The main areas to consider are:
- Create a communications plan with your family in advance. How will you check in with each other if you are cut off from being together?
- Keep a written list of family phone numbers in case your cell phone dies with all your contact info inside it! Note that texting and pagers maystill work when cell phones won't.
- Long distance phone calls often work when local ones are down. Designate someone in another state to be the communications hub who can relay messages between family members, if needed.
- A portable radio with batteries may seem old-fashioned, but if a power outage goes on for any extended time, you'll be glad to have it available to find out about emergency services and recommendations.
- Authorize another adult to pick up your children in emergency, and write their name and number in your plan.
- Food: Store a 3-day supply of non-perishable food, including baby & pet food as needed, as well as a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day minimum)
- Cooking & Cleaning supplies: digital thermometer to check food temperature, manual can opener, 1/2 gallon of liquid chlorine bleach to purify drinking water, plastic bags, disinfectant, matches in a waterproof container and a small camping stove with fuel.
- Evacuation bag or suitcase
- Bottled water, high-protein, high-calorie energy food bars, trail mix, dried fruit.
- Change of clothes, extra underwear for each child
- Calling cards, credit cards &cash (about $100 per person per day)
- Flashlight and batteries
- Multi-utility knife
- Your family communications plan
- Pet food. Don't forge Fido!
- First aid kit: bandages, first aid cream, prescription and OTC medications
- Small toiletries: toothbrush, paste, comb, soap, shampoo and deodorant.
- Vital documents: Proof of identity and residency, insurance declarations page, home inventory, family identification photos, health insurance cards, and any other unique and critical papers.
- Simple tools: extra batteries, duct tape, pliers, a small hammer and a screwdriver. McGyver could fix anything with these simple tool, and so could you!
There are a lot of other resources online to help you make a more specific and thorough plan, but even if it's just the basics listed above, take the time to organize your emergency kit now. Otherwise, when and if you need it, it may be too late!