Back-to-school time is the perfect time to check on something that is often overlooked in busy homes with kids. An emergency preparedness kit may not figure high on your to-do list. But somewhere in between the list of school supplies and the list of fall clothes needed, you may want to include this item. So the next time the power goes out, you'll be as prepared as possible.
Whether your next emergency comes in the form of a thunderstorm that knocks out your power, a flood that forces you out of your home for a couple of days, or a snowstorm that leaves you stranded in the minivan for 8 hours, being prepared for such eventualities is the safe and responsible thing to do.
And what about the kids? What if they are stranded at school due to an emergency? As you put together your home emergency kit, think about creating a mini kit for school-age children.
An emergency kit can be modified to fit your own situation. You may also want to keep smaller versions of the kit at your workplace and in your auto.
Here are some basic items that should be part of every preparedness kit:
- Food and water. FEMA suggests keeping a gallon of water per person per day. Non-perishable food, such as canned foods with high liquid content, and whole grain cereals, are good choices. Avoid salty foods. Be sure to include a manual can opener
- Battery-powered radio or portable T.V.
- Battery-operated lanterns
- A few days worth of prescription medicines
- A first aid kit
- Several warm blankets
- Sleeping bags
- A couple of towels
- A whistle
- A small supply of cash
- Necessary personal hygiene items
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Backup eyeglasses if needed
- List of emergency and family contact numbers
- Kid's stuff. For babies, the age-appropriate food and other necessities. For older kids, some books and games to keep them occupied during periods without power
- Clothing for weather extremes. Depending on your climate, boots, scarves, hats, rain ponchos, gloves, jackets, and so forth
- Anything else that your family specifically needs
For the kids, a mini-kit that they could store in a locker might include:
- A list of family contact numbers
- Bottle of water
- Small favorite toy or game
- A snack
- A flashlight
- A comforting message from you
Your emergency supplies kit should be replenished each year. Back-to-school is the perfect time to do this task. Replace food that is approaching its sell-by date, and make sure from year to year to adjust the supplies for your growing children. No emergency kit will solve all your problems should disaster hit. But it will go a long way towards keeping you and your family safe.
This article is brought to you by Neil Street, a freelance writer and marketing consultant for Sara Glove Company, which supplies emergency rain ponchos and other protective gear.