12 September 2011

Prep30: Convert your basic emergency kit to an "evac kit"

An earlier Prep 30 post guided you through planning and assembling a basic emergency kit. In that article, we mentioned that you might want to set up your emergency kits in backpacks or duffel bags in order to make them easy to grab if you're leaving in a hurry. This time around, we'll focus on upgrading your basic kit to one better suited to evacuating your home for a few days.
  1. First, you'll want your evac kit(s) to be in easily transported containers. As mentioned in the "basic emergency kit" post, this is most easily done in backpacks, duffel bags, or old luggage.

  2. Next a quick review of what your basic kit should have. As you'll recall, we previously recommended the list from Ready.gov for your basic emergency kit. However the items listed below are the ones you most need for your evac kit, along with some added notes:
    • Local maps and printed directions to your safe location (refer to the Prep30 post on making an evacuation plan for other things to include
    • Cell phone with chargers (include car and wall chargers if you have them)
    • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
    • Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
    • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
    • Flashlight and extra batteries (have several flashlights; with the low price of LED flashlights, this is a cheap thing to do)
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • First aid kit
    • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
    • Prescription medications and/or any regular over-the-counter medicines you take
    • Spare prescription glasses or contacts, including contact lens supplies
    • Infant formula and diapers (if applicable for your children)
    • Pet food and extra water for your pet (if you have pets; also see the Prep30 post on a pet emergency kit)
    • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container (you may want to include a USB flash drive with electronic copies of these documents too)
    • Cash (and/or maybe some traveler's checks) and change. Be sure to have at least a few hundred dollars in cash. Include plenty of small bills and at least $10 or $20 in varied change
    • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes (already worn and broken-in shoes will be best); don't forget to include extra socks and underwear
    • You may need additional clothing and/or jackets, hats, and gloves if you live in a cold-weather climate
    • Matches in a waterproof container and/or a butane lighter
    • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
    • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
    • Note paper and pencil/pen
    • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children

  3. Beyond the above items, you should consider adding the following to your evac kit:
    • "Emergency" credit card(s) with plenty of credit available (hopefully, these are the only credit cards you have, and they have no balance on them!)
    • A few extra paper checks; be sure you have identification with you (it's a good idea to have some other form of identification with you in case you lose your wallet)
    • A spare set of all your important keys, including your car and house keys, as well as any keys to your safe location
    • Have a current, unfilled prescription for any required medicine your family takes; that way you can get them filled at a pharmacy if your stay is extended beyond a few days
    • A good knife; a simple folding knife with a 3-inch blade would be useful; a Swiss army-type knife wouldn't be bad either
    • A multi-tool (e.g., a Leatherman or Gerber)

  4. A side note: there are a number of items that are on the Ready.gov list (and therefore probably in your basic emergency kit) which are necessary to have on hand at home, but not necessary to take with you. (An example is the wrench/tools to turn off your home utilities.) It's best to place the "leave-behind" items in a separate stay-at-home container, but still keep them with the rest of your emergency supplies.

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