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What to Keep in Your Home Emergency Preparedness Kit

Would your family be ready in the event of an emergency?

Avoid a last-minute scramble to gather the necessities. Put together your emergency kit now, and take advantage of Emergency Preparedness Week. You likely have most of the basic items you need already; the key is to make sure they’re organized and easy to find when you need them.

Here are 8 important items to have on hand to ensure your family stays secure and healthy in case of an emergency.

Bottled Water

If your water supply is cut off, having fresh water is important. Stock your kit with four litres of water per person, per day – two for drinking and two for washing.

Toronto Hydro and the Insurance Bureau of Canada both recommend storing enough water, food and medical supplies to last a minimum of 3 days. Don’t forget to include small bottles that can be carried for easy drinking.

Non-Perishable Food

High-energy meals and snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix and canned foods keep well in an emergency preparedness kit. Just make sure you keep a check on those expiration dates, and bear in mind that canned spaghetti may lose it’s appeal after a day or two. Ensure your food supply is varied.

If you have a portable camping stove, include it with some matches (packed in a waterproof container) for outdoor use, as well as a manual can opener and disposable utensils.

Flashlights

When the power goes out, no one likes to be left in the dark. In addition to flashlights, include battery-powered lanterns and candles, which can illuminate a room for activities like reading or colouring. If you have to evacuate in the dark, having glow sticks on hand can help you keep track of your group.

Battery Powered / Wind Up Radio

When unusual conditions limit communications systems, a battery powered or wind up radio can help keep you informed of local weather updates. Ensure you’ve got enough extra batteries on hand to last for 3 days use.

Personal Hygiene Items

Going a few days without daily conveniences like running water means that keeping clean requires a little more creativity. Stock your kit with hand sanitizer, cleanser wipes, tissues, toothbrushes, toothpaste and towels.

First Aid Kit

Provided your family stays at home during an emergency and your home isn’t damaged, there isn’t usually a major risk of injuries when unexpected emergencies hit. However, having a first-aid kit ready will put your mind at ease.

Include basic medications like Acetaminophen, Benadryl, sterile gauze pads, instant cold packs, and band-aids, as well as any special needs items like prescription medications, hearing aids and extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, etc.

Your Important Documents

Keep copies of your insurance policies, identification, list of medications and doctor information in sealed, waterproof containers to avoid problems later in case the originals get destroyed.

Your Family’s Emergency Plan

An emergency plan typically consists of the information that will enable your family members to get in touch with each other if you get split up. Include each family member’s cellphone and any alternative phone numbers in case reception is poor.

Also important to include in your family’s emergency plan is a floor plan of your home. Make note of all the possible exits from each room, and draw up an evacuation route from your neighbourhood in case you need to leave quickly.

Optional Extras

Don’t forget to include some nice-to-have items to make living through an emergency a little more pleasant. This could include board games, a deck of cards, colouring books, favourite toys, and book lights for individual activities. Morale boosters are an important part of emergency preparedness, too.

After you’ve put together your emergency kit and made sure everyone in your household knows where to find it, take the time to review your home insurance policies. Emergency Preparedness Week could be an opportunity to contact your insurer to review your coverage, and consider whether any changes are in order.

Desjardins Insurance offers a full range of home insurance coverage to adapt to your specific situation. Want to find out more? Get a quote today.

What to Keep in Your Home Emergency Preparedness Kit

Unexpected emergencies – from power outages to natural disasters – happen fast, and can take a big toll on our day-to-day lives.