- Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
- Spare glasses
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet, plus their crate and leash
- Cash or traveler's checks (ATMs don't work in power outages)
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect waterMatches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Duct tape, which is often useful
- A tarp for picnics or makeshift tent
Think through where you might end up: at a shelter, a friend's house, or stuck camping out of your car.
Do this before you think you might need to. Dedicate a corner of your garage to it. If you have no garage, pick the closet closest to your front door and make sure everything is packed neatly into cheap duffle bags so the family can throw everything in the car within 15 minutes if they need to. Change the water and medications every year (your birthday is a good time to do that) and recharge the spare phone battery.
I also put a water filter in my supplies and parachute cord. Think through your locale, your situation, and add whatever you want.
And NEVER let your gas tank go under 50% full. Because you really never know.
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