You never know when an emergency will happen, whether it takes the form of a power outage, hurricane, flooding, or other natural disaster. Even after living through one of these disasters, it is easy to slip back into complacency when things return to normal. The time to buy supplies is before disaster strikes. This list of essentials will guide you on how to start preparing.
When preparing your list of essential supplies, consider the following as the backbone of your needs. Even if you never go beyond this list, you will be well ahead of the vast majority of individuals in terms of preparedness.
- Heat source
- Cooking stove
- First aid kit
- Alternate source of power
- Emergency radio
- Surveillance cameras
Having a source of potable water is the first essential to consider. At a minimum, you should keep several cases of bottled water on hand. A recommended rule of thumb is 1 gallon per day per individual, remembering to include enough for the family pets. Before using tap water after an emergency, listen for local broadcasts to be sure the water is safe.
Next, you should start a pantry of storable food that doesn’t require cooking. Keep enough of this type of food to last for at least the first few days. This could include camp type meals that only require the addition of water. Stock items such as tuna fish, peanut butter, protein bars, crackers, and canned fruit. For longer term outages, you’ll want to include staples such as rice, dried beans and dehydrated vegetables.
Having a source of heat (such as a propane space heater) is very important during the winter months. This is particularly the case with the elderly and anyone that is ill. Be sure to keep at least a small drum of propane on hand, too. If you have a generator, you’ll also want to keep some fuel on hand, if possible. During a power outage, many gas stations can’t use their pumps, and even if they are functional the lines of individuals with gas cans can be hours long.
Try to keep prescriptions filled for at least a month ahead of time for individuals whose life depends on them. If there is any chance that lifestyle changes could get you or your loved one off of medications, you should make that a goal, before an emergency occurs. Also, either start or build up your first aid kit so that you will have items on hand to handle small emergencies.
If you do not have an alternate power source such as a generator, you will need to have light sources such as candles, oil lamps, LED lights, and flashlights readily available. A hand cranked or battery-operated radio is important to hear emergency broadcasts. Consider solar sources of power and a generator if you can fit them into your budget. In the event of a long-term power outage, you will need a cooking source, if you do not have access to a functioning gas stove. Small propane grills that use pony bottles of fuel are easy to store.
Lastly, but certainly most importantly is home surveillance. For your family’s safety, install a wireless security camera system, as this can be a real lifesaver. It is an unfortunate truth that disasters can bring out the worst in people. When supplies are low, people become desperate and may take property that doesn’t belong to them. This is when your home security system can not only help keep an eye on your home, but also act as a deterrent for criminals.
Start collecting your essentials now, and add to your stock over time as your budget permits. Having these supplies on hand will allow you to face almost any emergency with only minor discomfort.