Do you ever think about how prepared you would be in case of a possible emergency? We had a real wakeup call when Hurricane Sandy struck NYC in late 2012 and we were left without power for five days and no heat or hot water for ten. I live in downtown Manhattan and we were warned of this possibility so we did our best to prepare ourselves and we managed to get through the outages without having to leave our home. With subsequent weather advisories and snow days, I've kept up with having a home emergency kit in place cause well, you never know and it's always better to be prepared.
1. Flashlight and Candles
You definitely want to have some sources of illumination handy in case you lose power. LED flashlights are brighter and last 10 times longer than traditional ones. We have one large flashlight and three small ones which we can take on the go like when we had to use the stairs in the dark when there was no electricity. I kind of hoard pretty scented candles anyway and they come in real handy when there are no lights. If you want to be more practical these 100 hour plus emergency candles might be the way to go.
2. Portable Emergency Radio
e have this exact model which can be powered three ways: hand cranking the rechargeable battery, three AAA alkaline batteries or via USB cord. It also has a flashlight and beacon light and can charge a cell phone if necessary. Our radio really came in handy to provide us with the latest news/weather updates when we were sitting around by candlelight feeling otherwise out of touch with the world.
3. External Battery for Mobile Devices and Extra Batteries
Batteries provide power when there's no electricity. Enough said.
4. First Aid Kit
It's best to have a first aid kit assembled to address any basic health issues as well as any small emergencies that may come up cause you definitely don't want to be fumbling for medication or health aids in the dark. Everyone should really have a basic first aid kit anyway.
5. Supply of Drinking Water
The Dept. of Health recommends keeping a three day supply on hand which would be one gallon per person per day.
6. Supply of Non-Perishable Food
Again a three day supply is recommended. I always keep some canned soups, beans and fish on hand along with ramen noodles in a cup (they're not the best for you but who cares in an emergency) in my pantry so I don't have to go on a shopping frenzy whenever we're expecting a big snowstorm or hurricane. I also try to have nuts, nutrition bars and dried fruit or apple sauce snack packs around as well.
7. Disposable Dining Ware and Utensils
When you don't have power or hot water, you're not exactly in a position to do dishes so it's best to have some disposables. I save up the plastic utensils that I get from Seamless deliveries for this reason.
8. Personal Hygiene Items
Without water you have to get a little creative with hygiene so it's best to have some emergency items handy like hand sanitizer, facial wipes and body wipes. I don't think I missed my shower or Clarisonic more than when we lost power/water but we were able to make do because we has these.
9. Household Lighter and Matches
We have a gas stove which is actually a wonderful thing because it still works when you don't have power since you can manually light it with a lighter or match with the gas turned on. A stove is really useful to boil water or heat up food. You also want something to light those candles with.
10. Household Cleansing Wipes and Garbage Bags
Cause you don't want your housekeeping to go to crap. Well I don't anyway. Antibacterial wipes are great for cleaning up after eating and you definitely want to something to tuck your accumulating trash into.
11. A Multi-Tool
A tool with multi-functions is handy to have around to address household issues but it is even more essential during an emergency situation.
These are items that I have personally found helpful and this is tested since it saw us through Hurricane Sandy. This list assumes that you have access to blankets, clean clothing and shoes. I will mention that I live on the 10th floor of a high rise building in Manhattan and not a house so if you live in a suburban environment or in a house you may require some additional things. We also lost water along with our electricity because the water tower of our building is on the roof and water has to be pumped down. We filled up a few pots and buckets with water but we went through them quicker than we even expected. Knowing this, I always fill up the tub now in the wake of any emergency warnings so that we have a decent supply of water for brushing our teeth, flushing the toilet, etc. For the kit, be sure to check it every six months just to make sure everything is in working condition and that your food is fresh.
With so many environmental changes impacting our planet, weather related emergencies are becoming more of a reality and other types of emergencies can always come up. The next thing we will need to put together is a go bag.
Do you have a home emergency kit? What items have you included? How prepared are you for emergencies?