After you have your emergency plan started, the next step in being prepared is putting together an emergency kit. You should have an emergency kit for your home, your car or truck (one each) and an emergency kit for your workplace. Each family member should have a personal kit as well. This should contain at least one change of clothing, personal items and an extra pair of sturdy shoes.
Here are the basics for your family emergency kit:
- Water – At least one gallon per day per person. Include water for pets.
- Food – Items that don’t have to be heated. At least three days of food per person for three days.
- First Aid Kit
- Medications for chronic conditions
- Battery-operated radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Reserve cash – At least $50 in small bills. $1 bills are best.
There’s a saying in legal circles: if you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen. A paper trail also is critical during and after a disaster. Without critical documents, it may be difficult to file insurance claims, regain access to your home after an evacuation, or reunite with family members. Make copies of the following financial and family records and store them in a fire-resistant, waterproof container. Keep copies in your emergency kit:
- Automobile titles
- Tax records
- Stock and bond certificates
- Medical powers of attorney and do not resuscitate (DNR) forms
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Insurance policies
- Household inventory (with records of key property’s serial numbers) for insurance claims
Consider renting a safe deposit box for the originals. Off-site backups are as important for paper records as they are for digital data.