Sometimes gifts for family friends and can be a real challenge, especially for that person who has just about everything.
Because we’re all about being prepared for emergencies and disasters, we have some last minute gift ideas for you that won’t break the bank but will make that friend or family member better prepared for the next power outage, snow storm or other emergency.
- First Aid Kit –These come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller kits designed for your car or truck’s glove compartment to larger kits for the home or office. It should be in a sturdy bag or box and have the essentials for first aid. Several sizes of bandages, tape, disinfectant, scissors, medicines and other items can come in handy. Remember that your first aid kit needs to be checked regularly as some items do have a shelf life and need to be replaced occasionally.
- NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio – This is the most important appliance in your home or office. It will alert you to the latest weather watches and warnings as well as any information about community emergencies. For $30, it’s an easy way to stay up-to-date. Make sure you include a set of batteries, so that the radio still works in case of a power outage. If you spend time in the outdoors, consider a portable NOAA All-Hazards Radio that will keep you aware of severe weather on the golf course, on the lake or while camping.
- Flashlight –There’s nothing more frustrating than to pick up a flashlight and find out that it doesn’t work. The best flashlights now have LED emitters which are brighter and last longer than the older filament-style bulbs. Check to make sure the one you give is shockproof and waterproof. Don’t forget an extra set of batteries that have a long shelf life. Many are available that will hold a full charge for five years.
- Tool Kit – You seldom have the right tool when you need it, especially if you’re in the car. Travel tool kits are a good present to give. That way if your friend or family member needs to tighten a loose windshield wiper or fix a wire that’s become undone. Make sure you include a roll of duct tape and a good pair of utility scissors. If you include a set of wrenches or socket set, make sure they have both english and metric sizes.
- Emergency Food and Water – You can live without food for several days – not that anyone would want to – but you’ll need water within the first day of an emergency or disaster. Get some granola or energy bars along with some bottled water that will fit in a small cooler or tote. If you want to step it up, you can get a personal water filter that will take most unclean water and make it suitable for boiling and drinking. Make sure you have a good water bottle or canteen so you can keep fresh, clean water with you. Remember that even bottled water has a shelf life. It needs to be rotated at least every six months.
- AM/FM Radio – Staying in touch with local authorities is important during emergencies and disasters, especially if the power goes out. An AM/FM radio is one of the most important items you can have in your home and emergency kit. Get or give one that has multiple power options. Newer ones can operate from battery power, solar cells or even a hand-cranked generator that is part of the radio. Some can even charge your cell phone. Keep some extra batteries for the radio as well – just in case.
- Cell Phone Charger – You can never have too much battery power for your cell phone. For many people, it’s the only way they have to stay connected to friends, family and news/information sources. If you’re making calls, sending text messages and accessing apps and websites, your battery will drain quickly. Cell phone battery chargers come in all shapes and sizes. Most cost under $50 and can charge your phone once or twice. Larger batteries can charge your phone up to four times from zero to fully charged.
- Fire Extinguisher – For about $30, you can give the gift that may save a life. An A-B-C fire extinguisher is a good addition to a car or truck emergency kit. You should have one of these near your kitchen in a pantry or cupboard AWAY from the stove or oven. That way if you need it because of a fire on the stove or in the oven, you can get to it easily. To use a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS. P=Pull the pin. A=Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. S=Squeeze the handles together to start the fire retardant stream. S=Sweep the nozzle side to side to cover the base of the fire.
- Work Gloves – A good pair of work gloves is essential to your home or car emergency kit. There’s not much worse than trying to change a tire with your bare hands. At home, you can avoid skinned knuckles and more serious injuries by wearing a leather or heavy-duty fabric gloves. Keep at least two pairs on hand and put on a pair of light surgical gloves on first to make them waterproof.
- Work Boots – Just like work gloves, a good pair of work boots will keep your feet and ankles safe and dry when outdoors responding to an emergency or disaster. Depending on your line of work, you may consider boots with an internal steel toe that are crush resistant. If you live in an area where there’s lots of snow or rain, consider the gift of outdoor, waterproof hunting or “muck” boots. These are designed to be waterproof and warm when its cold and wet.
- Multi-tool – We’ve all seen these and many of us have them, but an extra multi-tool with a sharp knife, pliers, cutter, screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener and other accessories can come in handy. A nice touch is to include a high-quality carabiner clip or some paracord. Because you just don’t know what you’ll get into around the corner. While inexpensive multi-tools may be attractive, name brand tools generally work better and last longer. They have the tools you need during an emergency.
- Car and Home Power Banks – These cell phone chargers are now powerful enough that they can even start your car if the battery dead because someone left the lights on. Generally about $50, these power banks will charge your cell phone two or three times. Keep one at home in your emergency kit and one in the car.
Remember that every emergency kit is different, so make sure yours is stocked with what YOU need so you’ll be safe, not sorry.