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It’s no joke. We’re all in a situation where a home emergency kit has become essential. And you probably have one in place by now. But it won’t be long before you’ll say something like, “I wish I’d thought of….”

We’re not used to thinking in emergency mode, but at this time it’s essential. So do a quick check of the basic items you will need over the weeks or months we are under this quarantine and next time you venture out, fill in the gaps.

Here is a basic list of items considered essential to a home emergency kit and some ideas on how to use and maintain it over time.

Basic Emergency Kit

  • We’ll assume our water supplies are intact. If not, it’s wise to have a supply of 15 gallons of bottled water per person in the household. It’s also good to have a way to filter unclean water.
  • In case of power outages have extra blankets, flashlight, candles, matches, batteries, and a battery-operated radio.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit If you can’t get out to the store easily, you will need the basic items just for daily living.
  • Cleaning supplies. We’re all using hand sanitizer and soap every day. Include wet-wipes, bleach, laundry detergent, and any other cleaning supplies you use regularly.
  • Medicines: Stock up as much as your providers will allow. Be aware of when you will run out of necessary prescriptions and be in contact with your providers to understand when and how they will serve you.
  • Food. This is where we need to think and plan carefully for the long-term. You’ll want to buy:
  1. A carefully thought-out supply of canned goods and a manual can-opener. Include canned meats and fish, and soups
  2. Staples such as beans, rice, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, pastas, hot cereals
  3. Freezer items that your family enjoys. Meat, prepared meals, vegetables, fruits
  4. Protein or fruit bars
  5. Dry cereal/granola
  6. Peanut butter or other nut butters
  7. Dried fruit and hard-packed meats such as sausage
  8. Dry milk or frozen regular milk
  9. Pet food, supplies
  10. Root vegetables, onions and any other fresh product that keeps over time.
  11. Crackers, nuts, trail mix
  12. Cooking oils.
  • A supply of cash for unexpected purchases, for example medications or food items purchased by another person.
  • Have hard copies and perhaps a usb thumbdrive holding all your important documents.
  • Emergency information such as emergency phone numbers, health professionals, etc.
  • Tools you may need for minor repairs such as a shovel, axe, wrenches, hammer, etc.

Some Tips

Don’t buy pre-packaged kits. They’re over-priced and may contain items you’ll never need or use.

Don’t buy things you or your family don’t enjoy. You can find many items that you will use once the crisis is over. Don’t stock up on dried beef jerky if no one likes it.

As you use the items in the kit and are allowed to get out to shop; replace them.

Fill in items you may have forgotten.

Don’t forget about quality of life. Dig up or buy some board games, music, art supplies and the like. Life goes on day by day whether we’re stuck inside or not. Be creative and make ways to enjoy the days.

*For an extensive emergency checklist, go here.