Californians are no stranger to emergencies. From earthquakes to wildfires, flash floods to landslides, there’s plenty of reasons to be thinking ahead. Building an emergency kit is a great way to be prepared if disaster strikes. Follow the suggestions below to keep you and your family ready for anything.
First Aid Kit
The first item in any good emergency kit is a First Aid Kit, which can help treat cuts, scrapes, splinters, or other minor abrasions. Many kits come with a variety of bandages, sterilized gauze, eye drops, tweezers, gloves, antiseptic wipes, and cleaning ointments like Neosporin. You can buy one pre-made at your local drug store or online, or you can purchase the individual items yourself.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends families keep at least one gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days. That means a family of four should have twelve gallons stored away. In addition to staying hydrated, water can be used for sanitation needs.
Canned Foods & Can Opener
It’s also important to maintain a three-day supply of non-perishable foods. Canned meats, vegetables, and fruits are recommended, as well as foods like granola bars or peanut butter. Make sure you have an old-fashioned, hand-held can opener as well, since your power may go out. Remember to check your emergency kit once a year and replace any expired goods.
Flashlight & Batteries
In the event of a power outage, a flashlight will help you and your family safely navigate the area. You can also use it to alert rescuers to your location. Consider packing one flashlight per adult and be sure to add batteries as well.
FEMA suggests at least one dust mask for every member of your family. These masks will help filter contaminated air in the event of disasters such as wildfires or earthquakes. Keeping smoke, ash, or other hazards particles out of your lungs is extremely important for your long-term health.
If you or a loved one suffers from a medical condition requiring prescription medication, injections, or epi-pens, it’s essential to set aside a small amount in your emergency kit. The American Red Cross recommends at least seven days’ worth of supplies. Over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin or Tylenol will also come in handy.
A multi-purpose tool is another worthwhile investment for your emergency kit. Pliers, for example, can be used to turn off utilities before you leave your home. Many of these tools also contain essentials like can openers and screwdrivers. Best of all, these tools take up less space than if you packed all the items separately.
An extra charger will definitely be useful during any emergency. Like flashlights, add one charger for every adult with a cell phone. Be sure to update chargers as you change devices.
One to two warm, durable blankets are recommended by the Red Cross to use for protection against outdoor exposure. You can also use sturdy blankets and some duct tape to build a makeshift shelter.
Whistles are an easy, effective way to alert rescuers to your location. Because they’re so small, adding multiple whistles to your emergency kit is a no-brainer.
Tips for Kit Maintenance
Once you’ve finished assembling your emergency kit, remember to:
- Keep your kit in a cool, dry place. This will help canned goods stay fresh.
- Check expiration dates on food and medicine every six months.
- Review your supplies every year. Has your family grown? Have your needs changed? Adjusting your supplies on a regular basis will help you stay ready for anything.
Your Emergency Checklist, Compliments of AltaMed
When disaster strikes, we want you to be ready for it. Print out the following checklist and use it to prepare an emergency kit. We hope it doesn't happen, but in the event of an emergency, you can’t be too prepared.
AltaMed Emergency Kit Checklist
- Canned Foods
- Can Opener
- Duct Tape
- Dust Masks
- Extra Chargers
- First Aid Kit
- Multi-Purpose Tool