If you’re looking to finally start an emergency supplies kit or expand on the one you’ve got started in the basement, post-Christmas may be the perfect time to deck it out.
FEMA outlines how to prepare a basic, 3-day emergency supplies kit for families in case of natural or man-made disasters at www.ready.gov. The site explains: “This year’s Resolve to be Ready campaign focuses on ‘Family Connection’ to reinforce the importance of parents including their children in preparedness conversations in advance of potential disasters. The Ready campaign makes an emergency preparedness resolution easy to keep by recommending families consider these three ideas when making a plan: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.”
Of course, I have no objections to donating unnecessary or duplicate goods to people and places where they’re certainly needed and needed now. Frankly, you can’t make your emergency kit too all-encompassing, because it’d be cumbersome to carry all your stuff should you need to evacuate. (You can’t prepare for every disaster .) But, if these items are just going to get lost in your piles of stuff around the house for the next couple of years or lie hiding in the bottom of a closet, gather them up!
1) Overload of Children’s Toys and Games
Keeping children from panicking during a scary emergency may be key to keeping the calm and sanity of all members of your survivalist group or family. While your child’s favorite “comfort” blanket or toy would probably ease his or her’s mind the most, you won’t regret throwing just a few extra books, art supplies, coloring books and/or toys in your kit.
2) Christmas Socks
Those red and green socks are ruffly, fluffy and cute but they’re also downright warm. Maybe you don’t feel like you want to wear a new pair of Christmas socks now that the celebration has come and gone. Consider NOT throwing them in a seasonal bin that you may forget about by next winter anyway. Instead, throw those babies in your emergency kit to battle the elements. They’ll help keep your body temp up or you’ll have extras so you can slip into a clean, dry pair should you need them.
3) Candy and Nuts
If you’re sick of the sight (finally) of store-bought chocolates, candies and nuts, store them in your emergency kit. Candy bars and nuts provide high protein and a lot of calories, boosting your energy at times when food may be scare. Other candies can also provide calories, help diabetics with battling low blood sugar, or may merely provide comfort when you and your children are waiting-out a potential disaster. (Worried about the shelf-life? Visit StillTasty.com for guidelines. Tip: Keep a list of your emergency kit items, especially perishables, so you can rotate them out with fresher inventory, keeping your kit up-to-date at all times.)
You may have received some type of blanket (of any variety, design or size). Add it (or them) to your kit. Blankets don’t just come in handy for warmth. Shield yourself and other members of your group in the event of falling debris like bits of dust and drywall. (If you want to keep those fluffy new blankets, pick out older blankets in your home you wouldn’t mind retiring to your kit.)
Towels are great for making cleaning rags or perhaps they’ll be needed to wipe up or temporarily wounds. Sure, keep those luxurious towels Aunt Nancy just gave you, but re-purpose those older, not-so-hot towels to the kit.
Receiving multiple of or any items you may never normally wear in public may actually come in handy. You’ll need to change your clothes eventually if a crisis goes on for too long, so stash them away. (Pack yourself at least one extra outfit with sturdy shoes, according to the Ready.gov website.)
Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who got a little ‘green’ thrown in a Christmas card. Remember that major power losses or massive panic may mean you can’t rely solely on ATMs and banks in your time of need. Having cash on-hand may help you at least in the first few days of a crisis to get the things or services you really need. Maybe your budget doesn’t leave room for squirrel-ing away lots of money at this time. Decide what works within your budget. After all, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and even keeping a few bills around can’t hurt.
I don’t see why it wouldn’t be perfectly acceptable to ask for the following list of gifts at Christmas next year. If you don’t normally know what to ask for, or you want items that serve a purpose, jot down these ideas:
- Emergency car kits
- First-aid kit
- Walkie talkies
- NOAA weather radio, crank-powered radio
- Sleeping bag
- Glow sticks
- Hand warmers
- Flashlights or keychains with flashlights
- Candy or nuts
- Books, art supplies or other activities to keep you or your children’s spirits high during a crisis
One More Idea
If you’ve just had a party (meaning you’re left with a mass of extra paper plates, disposable cups, plastic silverware, napkins and other kitchen (or even toiletry items) cluttering up your house), add them to the kit as well.
Visit Ready.gov for more ideas on emergency planning, especially for those with special needs/other considerations or for your pets or business.