We hear of them every day and sometimes forget the realization that they can happen to us and our own families. Flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, among other natural disasters, can occur right in our own backyard and community.
I know it is not a pleasant thing to consider, but unfortunately, we need to. We have seen it in the news all too often, and even recently. We have seen it in the Florida hurricanes, the flooding in New Orleans, and in the California wildfires. You may even know ahead of time that you have to evacuate but get stuck in days of traffic.
The fact is we need to be ready for an emergency, regardless of who we are or where we live.
What is a family emergency kit?
Sometimes you may hear the term “bug out bag” or a “go bag“. It’s basically an emergency preparedness kit.
It doesn’t matter what you call it, but you need a bag ready to go for an emergency that can sustain your family for at least 72 hours. When emergencies happen, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
What do you use to hold the contents of a family emergency kit?
I recommend a sturdy military grade backpack. It should be able to hold plenty of items and be quite durable.
What goes in the family emergency kit?
Also, some water purifying tablets. You may want to purify water for cooking or baths, as well. And if you do use the water purifying tablets for drinking water, you may want to have some stick packs in the bag of kool-aid or crystal light. The water will taste “funny” and while as adults we would drink it to keep us alive, kids are not going to want to drink it. The stick flavored packs can hide that weird taste.
Snacks. Good snacks, with protein. You will want high energy food such as peanut butter, protein bars, or granola. As always, I recommend KIND bars as a go-to easy to open and keep on hand snack. You will have to rotate these out so you don’t have expired food. Usually, our household does this every three months.
(If you are taking any sort of canned good, don’t forget you will need a can opener.)
Flashlight with extra batteries.
Personal hygiene items – I’d basically keep a small supply of tampons, panty liners, and toilet paper.
A cell phone charger. We love our charger that will charge an iPhone about nine times before needing to charge itself. We got it at Brookstone, but I can’t find a link to that exact model, but it’s similar to this.
Extra cash. Don’t rely on debit or credit cards in emergencies. If there is no power, they won’t work.
Medications. If you take a daily medication, I’d have a least seven days worth in your bag. Again, don’t forget to switch these out so they do not expire.
A first aid kit.
If possible, a small weather radio.
This is just a baseline family kit, but I understand that there are other issues that may arise that need to be included. Families with babies need bottles, formula, and diapers. Diabetics will need an emergency supply of insulin/cooler for the insulin. These are just a few examples of what may need to extend past the basics.
Examine your family needs when building this kit as well. Take into account your unique family situation and what would be absolutely necessary for 72 hours without access to anything else.
What about paperwork for the family emergency kit?
However, you may not want to take the bulky binder with you – that would be heavy. Scan the papers in the binder and put them on a thumb drive to stick in the emergency kit.
If you don’t have a scanner, there is a very cheap app called Scanner Pro that you can take photos of your documents and turn into digital copies. I use this for everything I need to scan, including school paperwork.
I would not only scan what is in the binder, but scan marriage licenses, birth certificates, and other important documents. You may not use these during the emergency but may very well need them afterward.
Where do you store the family emergency kit?
Wherever you will remember it. We keep ours in our bedroom closet, ready to go.
Also, remember that this is for an emergency and needs to be fairly lightweight in case you need to carry it on foot. You do not need your whole house, toys, or convenience items. This is for truly emergent situations.
Once you have it put together, you can rest easy that you have a solid base to keep your family going in an emergency.
Is there anything you would personally keep in your family emergency kit or bag that I haven’t listed?