If not, please take the time to review this checklist to help you build one that the team at Insurance Town has put together in collaboration with Safecastle.com. Your family's lives may depend upon it some day. Just gather the items listed below and keep in a location that is easy to access and is known to the whole family.
FEMA advises that you should have at least one gallon of water per person per day. Family members who are elderly, infirm, or pregnant may require more. The water is primarily for drinking, but the recommended amount per day includes water for washing hands and brushing teeth. A good rule-of-thumb is to prepare for three days (72 hours) without access to clean water. However, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that the reality could be much longer than 72 hours depending upon where you live; plan accordingly. You can either choose to store clean water in a sealed container or use a portable filter like this one from Berkey that offers optional features like solar power capabilities and an LED lit base.
Experts say to pack 3 days of non-perishable food per person. Non-perishable foods do not require any form of refrigeration for them to stay good. It is best to choose foods that do not require cooking or water since both could be unavailable during a disaster. Safecastle offers MRE STAR prepackaged meals which require no cooking or water and are in good standing with the USDA and the FDA. Beware of emergency food bars that contain coconut oil or other tropical oils as many people prove allergic to these. Be certain to choose food that your family will be able to eat.
In the case of any disaster, it is a good idea to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Make certain that you have copies of all of your family's important papers -- such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, medical insurance cards, medical prescriptions, firearm registrations, deeds, titles, house and car insurance contracts, and any other papers or information you may need to rebuild your life if your house is destroyed.
Each person has their own idea what makes the "perfect" collection of survival tools for their "bug-out bag". Without going into specifics, here are general items that should be in any decent survival kit:
- Portable Radio with the Weather Band
- LED Flashlight (like this solar powered, hand crank one)
- Simple Toolkit or Utility Knife (Screwdrivers, Adjustable Wrench, Hammer, etc.)
- Local Area Maps
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle for Signaling
- Can Opener
Supplies for Personal Hygiene
Sometimes personal hygiene issues can make us feel the most vulnerable and helpless. You can keep your family from feeling this vulnerability and maybe even be able to help others. Be certain to pack moist towelettes, face tissue, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, towels, soap, and any other personal hygiene supplies your family may need to be comfortable.
Many people these days have a smartphone or tablet computer. There are also small portable game systems, cell phones, laptops, and a host of other small electronic devices that might prove useful, if you can keep them charged. If your family depends upon their personal electronics, then you may want to invest in a solar-powered charger or a small hand crank generator for your survival kit. Otherwise, make certain that you pack lots of batteries to keep those personal electronics fed; lithium batteries have the best shelf life.
Dress for Disaster
Be prepared for changing weather conditions for you and your family when you leave your home. Here are some tips for properly dressing for a disaster:
- Dress in Multiple Layers
- Wear Sturdy Comfortable Shoes
- Carry Light Rain Gear
Shelter in Place
Sometimes the disaster is of such a nature that the authorities determine the best course of action to keep people safe is to implement shelter in place protocols. To be prepared for this possibility, you should measure all of your windows and doors so that you can purchase the appropriate amount of plastic sheeting and duct tape to cover over all of them. At the same time, purchase filter masks for your family.
In light of the recent rash of tornadoes in the South and Midwest, the topic of safe rooms has frequently come up. These are optimal for people who wish to have further protection from the elements or any potential disasters. Safecastle offers safe room quotes and construction for those who are interested in this top of the line option for your safety.
No matter what the emergency or disaster may be, you will be better prepared if you gather the items on this list. Do it for your family.
Stephen Whitmore is a freelance blogger for InsuranceTown.com. His writing often covers the ins and outs of insurance issues related to weather incidents.