Hope for the best, prepare for the worst—that seems like a job that typically lands on moms. As parents, we all experience a variety of unplanned events, from sick kids to cars breaking down. That’s why even while you’re hoping you’ll never need them, you should have these must-have supplies for your emergency survival kit ready to go when the unexpected happens.
It seems like whenever you really need one, the only flashlight in the house has a burned-out bulb or dead batteries. Newer versions have long-lasting, super-bright LED bulbs that don’t use as much energy and are more reliable. Upgrade your flashlights and make sure everyone in the house knows where to find them when needed. You’ll still need extra batteries, so keep that in mind.
Water and Non-Perishable Food
A gallon a day per person is the best estimate of how much water you need for drinking and washing if you don’t have access to clean and sanitary water. Water is heavy to carry, so if you’re in a situation where you do have to leave home, water purification tablets and water containers might be necessary.
The basic recommendation is to keep a three-day supply of non-perishable food on hand in case you’re stuck with no way to get groceries. Of course, a teenager can consume three days worth of food in an afternoon, so plan accordingly! And don’t forget the manual can opener!
Blankets, Garbage Bags, and Wipes
No power, no heat. Make sure you have enough blankets or sleeping bags to keep everyone cozy. And while it’s not pleasant to think about, emergencies can cause sewer problems: you might not be able to flush for a few days. Keep wipes and garbage bags, plus twist ties, available to deal with sanitation needs until things get back to normal.
First Aid Kit
If you’re snowed in, or there’s flooding making it impossible to get out immediately to get medical help, you’ll need a well-stocked first aid kit. Include bandages, splints, anti-bacterial or alcohol wipes, and bandages to clean and dress wounds while you wait for rescuers to arrive.
You may think you can yell or scream loudly, but a piercing whistle is probably a better way to attract attention and get help in an emergency situation. If there’s a lot of destruction all around you, rescuers are going to be listening for signs of life, and a whistle can help your call for help break through the mayhem.
If you’ve got an infant or toddler, you’re going to need diapers, baby food, formula, and games to play. If you or someone else in your family depends on daily medication, make sure you have a supply on hand. And if you can’t see without your glasses, make sure you have an extra pair!
This is just a brief list of must-have supplies for your emergency survival kit. For more on preparing a kit for emergencies, visit Ready.gov or American Red Cross’s website.