It’s time to check your emergency kit.
With fall 2022 firmly in place and cooler temperatures on the way, it’s time to pull out that home emergency kit and check and restock items, so you’re ready for cool/cold weather emergencies. Here’s what to check:
BATTERIES: Just about everything electric or electronic runs on batteries. Please look at the spare batteries in your kit and make sure they’re in good shape, not leaking, and within their expiration date. A good rule of thumb is to rotate batteries every six months. If you have a cell phone power pack, make sure it’s fully charged, and you have cables that will connect it to your phones. A car charger for your phone is a good backup as well.
FLASHLIGHTS: Make sure that flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps are all in good working order. If possible, try to get flashlights that use the same batteries that everything else uses. AA batteries are easy to find, inexpensive, and power most AM/FM and NOAA weather radios and other devices. A good LED flashlight that works with AA batteries costs less than $10 and will work for hours. As a standby, include a package of chemical glowsticks in your emergency kit.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: Your home and car emergency kit should have a fire extinguisher. Make sure they’re rated correctly and display that they’re fully charged. If you’re not sure, replace them.
WATER: The recommendation is to have at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Water purchased from stores has an expiration date, usually six months to a year. Again, it’s a good idea to rotate water supplies, so as you use bottled water, replace it with your emergency stocks and buy fresh for the emergency stash.
FOOD: Same as water. Replace anything that’s out of date. Make sure your emergency food doesn’t have to be cooked, is high energy, low-salt (that makes you thirsty, so you drink more emergency water), and are items you’ll actually eat. Dried fruit, packaged meat, crackers, granola/fruit bars, peanut butter, and trail mix are all recommended.
FIRST AID KIT: Make sure all medicines are current with expiration dates of at least January 2023. Replace those that are either out of date or near expired. Check adhesive bandages and other supplies to ensure they still work. Some bandages dry out due to heat and age. If you include medicines for a chronic condition, it’s good to rotate them in and out of your emergency kit every 90 days. This goes for disposable contact lenses as well. Suntan lotion also has an expiration date. After the expiration date, you may get limited or no sun protection if you use it. Replace your suntan lotion with a fresh bottle or tube.
CLOTHING: Swap out winter clothes for last year’s summer wardrobe. Include one pair of long pants and a long-sleeved shirt for each family member. Hats for all. Socks and closed-toe shoes. An old pair of work boots for adults is a good addition, especially if you have to walk to an evacuation point or clear debris from around your home. Make sure you include a pair of work gloves for adults as well. Safety goggles are a good addition as well.
FAMILY RECORDS: Finally, make sure your copies of vital family records are up to date, as things do change. Birth certificates, prescriptions, medical records, insurance policies, court documents, and other important paperwork all need to be copied. Keep a paper copy in a waterproof envelope in your emergency kits with electronic copies backed up to a USB memory stick.
BABY/INFANT SUPPLIES: Check the expiration dates on infant formula and other supplies. Make sure you have enough supplies to last at least three days. Include diapers, wipes, clothing, blankets, and other necessities so that your child is comfortable.
Taking time to refresh your emergency kit will be time well spent. Making sure your emergency kit is up-to-day means you’ll be ready for just about anything. Here’s the complete list of what to put in your emergency kit for home, for the office, and for your cars.