Top 10 Essentials for a Perfect Emergency Kit

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In anticipation of the upcoming hurricane season, Disaster Relief Supply has released the “Top 10 Essentials for a Perfect Emergency Kit”.

Ready America Pre-Made Emergency Kit

Ready America Pre-Made Emergency Kit

There is no escaping the potential for a natural disaster; but there are ways to be prepared for it.

The summer months bring sunshine, barbeques, and family road trips, but not all that summer has to offer is comparable to “a day at the beach”. Summer is known as the start of “storm season”, when the proper atmospheric conditions cause natural disasters like fires, tornados, and hurricanes. There is no escaping the potential for a natural disaster; but there are ways to be prepared for it. That is why Mike Fisher of Disaster Relief Supply, one of the nation’s leading emergency preparedness retailers, has released the Top 10 Essentials for a Perfect Emergency Kit. This top 10 list is built off customer feedback, in-store and online sales, government recommendations, and expert opinions.

1. Food

It’s common knowledge that food is essential to survival. In the event of an emergency, the two options are to leave, or stay. Whatever the choice, a source for food is necessary. It is recommended to set aside a 3 day supply if evacuating, and a 2 week supply if remaining inside a home (redcross.org). Implementing a food that is high in calories with a long shelf-life is important. "People think of canned soup, spaghettios, beef jerky, and common food products like this as emergency food. What they need is food that is compact and sustainable for as long as possible, like meal bars with a high caloric content or individually packed MRE's,” Fisher suggests.

2. Water

In the event of a major disaster or emergency, supplies of water could be contaminated, or shut off altogether. It is recommended to keep both fresh water (bottled or packaged), and water purification items in a kit. Water purification products mainly include filters, solutions, and tablets. Well known home treatments include bleach (in small amounts), iodine, and boiling. According to the Red Cross, the recommended amount of water is one gallon per person, per day (3¬day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).

3. First Aid

Emergencies and injuries go hand-in-hand. To prepare for the unexpected, a kit should include basic first aid. More compact kits with the essentials (bandages, alcohol swabs, allergy and pain meds, antibiotic cream, etc.) are desired given the amount of space in a portable kit.

4. Face & Body Protection

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. An earthquake can quickly become a fire, and a hurricane can yield a toxic spill. It is best to be prepared for anything, especially while evacuating. Fisher recommends compact and inexpensive products like dust masks, goggles, coveralls, disposable gloves, and ponchos to keep in a kit.

6. Emergency Radio

A Battery-powered or hand crank radio, and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both is a wise choice for any disaster kit. Keeping updated on the current situation is very important, especially when the power is out, and there is no form of new information coming in. Also a radio can provide entertainment for those long hours waiting out a storm.

7. Emergency Light

Emergency light is a necessity. Fisher recommends either a battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries, or a hand-crank/shake flashlight or lantern. Also, light sticks are a long-lasting source of light that is inexpensive and fits easily into any size bag.

8. Whistle or Noise Device

There is no telling where a storm can leave its victims. Most fear being trapped inside a damaged home, but what about being lost in the country after a storm-related car accident? It is very important to have supplies that can signal for help. If injured, a whistle (or other noise device) can do this from far away with little energy.

9. Additional Medication/ Important Documents & Papers

#9 is the most forgotten part of an emergency kit. Certain illnesses and disorders require medication that is easily forgotten in the rush of an evacuation. According to Red Cross, kits should be stocked with a 7 day supply of essential medication. Important documents & papers are also an easily forgotten piece of every emergency kit. It seems unlikely, but a severe storm can reduce a home to rubble. Many are left searching for house deeds, stock certificates, birth records, and even family pictures. Also, when returning to a disaster area, certain identification is sometimes required to prove residence in that area. Something as simple as a utility bill, lease copy, or piece of mail with the proper name and address, can be used to prove residence.

10. Entertainment

Hurricanes are scary, but not near as scary as a week without technology! Make sure to include some form of entertainment in a kit, whether a book, pack of cards, or a handheld device with extra batteries. Access to extra batteries or an AC outlet may not be obtainable for at least 72 hours, so the worth of a non-technological form of fun should not be overlooked!

So that does it for the “Top 10 Essentials for a Perfect Emergency Kit”. Remember that an emergency kit should be specified to the needs of its users. If there are infants, include children's medicine and baby food, if taking a pet, make sure to bring a few cans of pet food. For more information visit the American Red Cross website get a kit section.

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Rick Fisher
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