It can be hard to imagine several days (or weeks) without power, internet or running water. But in the event of an emergency, anything can happen. That’s why your family should have an emergency plan and supplies ready for any type of disaster.
Depending on where you live, a disaster could mean heavy snow, flooding, a tornado or a hurricane. So make your plan personal – no matter what the weather is like in your area, a little preparedness can go a long way.
What To Have in a Home Emergency Kit
According to Ready.gov, a good rule of thumb is to have enough food, water and essential supplies on hand for 72 hours in case you need to evacuate. If it’s likely that you’ll shelter in place, the Red Cross recommends a 2-week supply.
Here’s the good news: You can buy a pre-made kit from a number of retailers online, but it’s also likely that you have many of these items lying around your house already. Grab a large, portable, watertight container to start stashing things away. Start building your kit with the essentials first, and then move on to the “nice-to-haves.”
- Water (one gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Extra batteries
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- First aid kit and/or trauma kit
- Cash and change (in a waterproof container)
- Manual can opener
- Flares or whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks for contaminated air
- Wrench, pliers and other tools (to turn off utilities)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (if you are stuck at home, work or elsewhere)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with battery-powered or solar charger.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Once you’ve got the essentials, personalize your kit based on the needs of your family (including pets!) and the weather conditions where you live.
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications (pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives)
- Eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula and supplies (diapers, wipes, etc.)
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Important family documents in a waterproof container (copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records)
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing for each person
- Unscented household bleach and medicine dropper (bleach is an effective disinfectant and can also be used to treat drinking water)
- Extra food and water
- Pet food and supplies
- Life raft for areas with severe flooding
- Extra blankets and hand warmers for extreme cold
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency reference material (order these for free at Ready.gov)
We’ve got your back
Uncertainty is part of life, but anxiety doesn’t have to rule your roost. At ERIE, we want to help you feel confident that your home insurance will go the distance if disaster strikes.
Remember: It’s important to protect your home with the right insurance well in advance of any looming forecast. In most places, state regulations prohibit anyone from purchasing a new insurance policy or changing their current coverage at the last minute when catastrophic weather, like a hurricane or severe flooding, is about to strike. So, while you’re in planning mode: See how our home insurance measures up (and request a free quote) – or find a local ERIE agent to answer your questions and design a policy that’s just the right fit for you.
This story was originally published in 2018.