As a California resident, you have most likely experienced some kind of natural disaster, which can strike with little to no warning. Since you may be stuck at home for days, or almost immediately forced out of your home, it’s important to prepare with a disaster survival kit.
You may need to quickly grab your kit, so I keep a three day supply in an easy to grab bag, and keep the rest of our stockpile in bins in the hall closet.
Here’s what we suggest:
1. Water! Keep an emergency stash of water. A one person 3 day supply typically includes a minimum of 3 gallons per person in the household. But, we suggest stocking up much more, since you don’t know how long you may be without water. You can also buy emergency water with a 5 year shelf life from emergency preparedness and camping stores. These waters come in juice box sized boxes and pouches.
2. Non perishable food! Stock up on food with a longer shelf life that doesn’t require any preparation. Peanut butter, granola bars, nuts, and canned food will help keep hunger pangs at bay and provide valuable nutrition. Don’t forget the can opener, or to buy peel off tops. You can also buy emergency food rations with a 5 year shelf life from the same stores where the 5 year shelf life water is available.
3.First Aid Kit: Be sure to check expiration dates on the medicines included, and replace as needed. Don’t forget any prescriptions for the people in your household.
4. Light: Flashlights work nicely, but glow sticks last for 8-12 hours and are non flammable. We suggest having both on hand. You may also want to stock up on candles and waterproof matches. Emergency power-outage lights are great for providing light and avoiding fumbling around in the dark for a flashlight or your cell phone. Although, let’s face it – don’t most of all sleep right next to our cell phones?
5. Battery operated or crank operated radio: Twitter may not work, but you can count on the radio for emergency alerts.
6. Batteries: For your flashlight and radio, if they are battery operated.
7. Emergency Cash: If you need to run to the store, but the electricity is out you can usually still pay with cash. Cash should preferably be in smaller bills and coins.
8. A whistle, duct tape, and plastic tarp: You may need to call for help or put together shelter.
9. Hand sanitizer and wipes: In case the water is turned off. You’ll still need to wipe your hands clean, especially before eating.
10. Electronic Chargers: A solar or crank up cell phone charger is great, but you can also add some portable power banks to your stash. Don’t forget to include extra wall chargers (provided that electricity works), and make sure your car has a car charger.
11. Emergency blankets: These fold up so nicely that they fit in a purse, but will keep your warm. If you have more room, you can add a warm fluffy blanket.
12. Paperwork: Insurance paperwork and contact info; other important personal paperwork. It’s more convenient to put this all on a flash drive, but be careful not to lose it. Alternately, the information can be stored at an outside location, as well.
13. Baby Supplies: If your family is currently raising a baby, include diapers, wipes, infant formula, food, bottles, and anything else your baby may need.
14. Pet Supplies: For pets, pack pet food, extra water, and a leash, and anything else your pet may need.
15. Miniature Toiletries: Start with the basics such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, chapstick, and hand sanitizer or wipes. Then add based on your family. For instance, female family members may need feminine products.
16. Things to do: Deck of cards, books, paper and pens, coloring books and crayons, etc.
17. Bags: Plastic trash bags and storage bags. You may need these for a variety of reasons, including using them as a portable bathroom. You can also buy waste bags, which may be a better portable bathroom than regular bags.
18. Extra Supplies: Plastic forks, knives, and spoons, paper plates, and napkins or paper towels. You can also buy a small grill (don’t use this inside!) to cook or warm up water.
There’s so much more you can add, but the items above are what we definitely recommend keeping on hand. For more items, you can check out emergency supply stores.
Tip: Make your one of your house phones is a non-electric phone. These will still work if the electricity goes out, so you can reach your loved ones.
It’s impossible to know where we will be when an emergency strikes, so we would also keep many of the items above in your car. My whole family has an emergency backpack in their car, filled with boxes of water, granola bars and nuts, batteries, emergency lights, a small emergency blanket, first aid kit, travel sized essential toiletries, and an old pair of tennis shoes.
If you have anything to add to the list, let us know!