September is National Preparedness Month and a perfect time to think about how you and your family would survive a natural disaster or other unexpected emergency. Most people hear the words Emergency Kit and think “First Aid Kit,” or they hear someone from the prepper movement talking about a Bug Out Bag and think “Oh dear, there’s another conspiracy theory!” but the truth is, we all live in a world where weather, outages, and things like school or neighborhood shootings can force us into uncomfortable, maybe even dangerous, situations. As moms, it’s our job to make sure we’re prepared to care for our families, both mentally and physically.
What Is an Emergency Kit?
We’ve all heard of first aid kits, and likely have them in our homes and cars. These kits are great for small medical emergencies. But, what about bigger events like a power outage, flat tire in the middle of nowhere, or a natural disaster? Most good emergency kits include first aid kits, but also enough food and water to last your family a couple of days and small tools or accessories you may need in the event you can’t get to a store or your home. Think gloves, emergency blankets, walkie talkies, rope, an air horn, emergency candles, etc.
Why Do I need an Emergency Kit?
What hazards are in your area? Are you in hurricane country? How likely are you to experience a tornado or wildfire and need to flee your home and seek shelter? Maybe you’re in an area that experiences a lot of blackouts or bad thunderstorms. The truth is, life brings the unexpected, and being prepared is smart. If you never need these things, wonderful. But, in the event you do, you’ll be glad you were prepared.
How to Create Your Own Emergency Kit
An Emergency Kit can be anything you need it to be. Depending on your location, you may include or exclude certain items. If you live in the far north, you’d want to include a heat source, hand warmers, extra emergency blankets, and possibly some extra fire starters. Those of us in the south have to worry about things like snake bites, sunburn, knowing where the nearest tornado shelter is, and finding fresh water. So, think about your location and what things you might experience, from being stuck on the side of a rural road with a flat, to being displaced for 3-4 days. What would your family need in these experiences? Food, water, source of heat,
Some items you may not think of that could save your life:
- Waterproof Matches
- A small pan for boiling water
- Flashlight and extra Batteries
- Tarp and Duct Tape (think make-your-own shelter)
- Rain Ponchos
- Good Pocket Knife
- Can Opener
- Small Camp Stove and Fuel
- Candy (to revive blood sugar levels)
- Prescription Medicines (a couple day’s supply of anything you or a family member normally takes)
- Baby Formula and Bottle
Pack everything in a large backpack or two, or an easy-to-carry tote or box. Make sure items that need to stay dry are seal in ziplock bags, and set yourself a bi-annual reminder to replace any items that may expire such as medications and food items. Keep the kit in an easy to access place in your home, or close to your home. Consider having a secondary kit in your car.
If you would rather buy an emergency kit, you can pick up a pre-made kit on Amazon. Some of our favorites are made by Quakehold, Mayday, and Emergency Zone. The Red Cross and Readybox also have some really good kits.
Whatever you make, or buy, be sure to put a family plan in place for emergencies. Know where you’ll meet or how you’ll get in touch. Having a plan cuts down on anxiety and reduces panic for everyone, even the kids.
Erica Mueller is wife, homeschool mom, web developer, and freelance writer. She blogs at EricaSays.com and contributes at MomPrepares.com.