From severe weather to natural disasters, you don’t want unexpected events to leave you stranded. But did you know that only about half of Canadian households have an emergency preparedness kit? As a general rule, every home should have enough supplies to keep you going for 72 hours, in case of emergency.
That goes for autos and RVs, too. Every vehicle should have an emergency kit stowed inside in case of break drowns or inclement road conditions.
A fully stocked kit at home and on the road can make the difference when you need it most and give you peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re prepared. Here’s how to create emergency preparedness kits for your home and vehicles.
Home Emergency Preparedness Kit
Your home kit should contain enough supplies to keep you going for about three days. Choose a sturdy backpack, duffel bag, rolling suitcase, or even 5-gallon bucket — in other words, something that’s ready to grab and easy to carry if you have to leave in a hurry.
Consider filling your “bug out bag” with:
- List of phone numbers and email addresses for people you may need to contact in an emergency
- Local map (note family meet-up points)
- Pen and paper
- Copies of important documents (insurance, birth certificates, will, identification, passports)
- First aid kit
- Multi-purpose tool (wrench, screwdriver)
- Hand-crank or battery radio
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Cell phone solar charger and/or power bank
- Candles and matches
- Cash (small bills are best)
- Small cooking stove
- Reflective/space blankets
- Sleeping bag
- Inflatable pillow
- Clothing and shoes
- Toilet paper
- Garbage bags
- Duct tape
- Three days of food and water (including pet food); aim for 4 litres of water per day, per person
Along with your grab-and-go kit, you may want to also store extra food and water in plastic bins or tubs. It’s a good idea to have at least two weeks’ worth of non-perishable, dried and canned goods on hand, as well as potable water. Think staples like rice, beans, pasta, oatmeal and peanut butter that keep for a long time and are easy to prepare.
Of course, you can also purchase freeze-dried “survival” food or MREs. Don’t forget a manual can opener for any canned goods.
Vehicle Emergency Preparedness Kit
Whether you’re driving on your daily commute or taking a road trip, the last thing you want is to get stuck. But storms, road closures and vehicle breakdowns happen all the time. Being prepared means you can get back on your way faster… or at least be safe and comfortable while you wait.
Choose a sturdy bag — preferably waterproof or water-resistant — for your vehicle kit. Contents should include:
- First aid kit
- Solar cell phone charger/power bank
- Hand crank or battery-powered radio
- High visibility safety vest
- Road flares
- Pop-up traffic cone
- Car escape tool
- Small tool kit
- No-spill portable fuel container
- Jumper cables
- Jump starter
- Spare fuses
- Jack and spare tire
- Towing straps or chains
- Traction pads
- Foldable shovel
- Fire extinguisher
- Extra oil, antifreeze and washer fluid
- Duct tape
- Paper towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Road maps
- Paper and pen
- Emergency/space blankets
- Warm clothing (gloves, hats, jackets, boots)
- Copies of important documents (identification, insurance, etc)
- Non-perishable food (granola bars, nuts) and water (4 litres per day, per person)
When RVing, you may also want to bring along a three-day food supply. Dehydrated or freeze-dried food packets don’t take up a lot of precious space. It’s also a great idea to throw in a toiletries pack that contains medications, extra contacts or glasses, and other items to keep you safe and comfortable.
While no one likes to imagine the unthinkable, emergencies do happen. Packing an emergency preparedness kit for your home, car and RV will ensure you’re prepared and provide you with peace of mind.