Have you ever thought about what you would need if you were required to leave your home in an emergency and not return for several days? Do you have what you need? Do you have the time to pack it all up and leave in time? Do you have a plan? Today is the beginning of Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada. Every year Public Safety Canada spends the first full week of may brining awareness to Canadians about the potential dangers and risks in their area and encourages families to become familiar with those risks, make a plan and get an emergency kit prepared.
Growing up with a dad in emergency services, being prepared and having a plan was a rainy day activity. When I had my own family the importance of being prepared really sunk in. With May upon us the start of more severe weather is here. I decided that I would finally put together a proper emergency kit in the event of an emergency situation and we (heaven forbid) had to leave our home.
An emergency kit is intended to sustain you and your family for 72 hours. In most emergency situations where you can safely stay in your home, what you have around you will most likely keep you and your family fed, warm, and safe for 72 hours. This post will focus on what to have on the ready in the event those hours may be spent away from your home or if conditions are less than ideal and your home may be without utilities.
The images below are not a complete kit. But an example of items you may want to include in yours.
At the end of this post is a free Family Emergency Kit Printable which we use and which you too can use to put together your kit and keep it up to date.
Putting a kit together can seen daunting and expensive. And if you totally panic and run out and buy everything today, you are probably right. I put my kit together by shopping my own house and moving extra items we don’t use into out kit, buying up a few things here and there when they were on sale or clearance and snapping up things from the dollar store. I did this over the course of a few months.
In a clear plastic tub I packed the following:
Crank Radio and Flashlights
First Aid Kit
Plastic and Garbage Bags
Toilet Paper and Paper Towels
Canned and Dried Foods
Disposable Cutlery, Plates and Bowls
A Pot and Pan
Non Perishable Foods
Note Pad and Pen
OTC and Rx Meds
Small Games or Toys for Kids
Pet Toy and Food
Books/ Colouring Books and Crayons
Travel Size Soap/Shampoo/Conditioner
Brush and Hair Elastics
All of these items may not fit into your clear plastic bin. But a good idea to make sure all of your items that would would want to take with you in the event you need to leave your home are kept in one place all together. A good place to keep everything would be on a pantry shelf where your kit and water can be kept on the ready while extra blankets, pillows and some extra clothing can be packed up in a bag relatively quickly from around your home. But your emergency basics will already be packed and ready to go.
Pack your items one by one in the clear bin, checking them off your list. When everything is packed, date the list so next time you go into your kit you have a rough idea how long items has been inside. If its been a while, time to print a new list and replace anything nearing its expiry date. Things like OTC and RX medications, canned foods and dry foods, bottled drinks, first aid kit contents all expire. Keeping it in a clear bin makes it easier to hunt for a specific item rather than dumping out half of it looking for a can opener.
Make sure to look into your local municipal and county government websites as many have information on what to do and where to get more information for your area in the event of an emergency.
I hope this post inspires you to prepare an emergency kit for your own family but I also hope that it is never needed.Remember, it’s up to you for 72!
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