How to Keep Stocked for an Emergency

You can’t escape hearing about emergencies these days. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have had real adverse impacts on millions of Americans this year. Not only that, but one of the worst wildfire seasons ever has been hitting the western US.

No matter where you live, there’s always a chance that an emergency could come your way, and for the health and safety of you and your family you should be prepared. I’m going to take us through a list of supplies that you should always have stocked and at the ready at your home. You won’t always get advanced warning of an emergency coming and even if you do, shortages and long lines could prevent you from getting what you need.

So, let’s agree to keep these few simple items stocked so that we’re always ready.

Food & Water

emergency 01The essentials of life! Water is the most important item to keep stocked and ready for the unknown. You should keep at least one gallon of water per person per day, and have enough for up to three days. It can be easy to forget how much water you actually need, but once the tap water stops flowing you’ll be glad you stocked up.

As for food, the same three-day rule applies. You’ll want to keep stocked with non-perishables to feed everyone in your household for three days. Canned tuna, beans, and veggies, peanut butter, saltine crackers, nuts and pretzels are some good examples of items you might want to keep stashed away for any potential emergency.

Survival Essentials

You know the drill: candles and flashlight, with plenty of batteries. Be prepared to light up the darkness at night when the power goes out. You may need light to fix something, get around your home, or just to read a book to keep the boredom away!

emergency 02It’s a good idea to have a backup battery for your phone charged and ready to go. We rely on our phones so much these days and if you need to get help, connect with friends and family, or get important emergency info, you’ll need to be able to keep your phone charged.

Speaking of being able to get emergency info, a great way to ensure that you’ll have all the latest emergency advisories is to have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio available that can tune into the NOAA weather radio alerts.

Ready.gov is an excellent resource for information on emergency preparedness. I highly recommend you check it out!

Special Needs

emergencyDo you or a loved one have prescription medicine that you rely on? When a disaster hits, it may be hard to get medicine for a long time. Make sure you have an extra supply of prescription medicine if you can. This way, there will be one less thing to stress about when crunch time hits.

It’s also a good idea to keep around some non-prescription medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, itch relieves and digestive aids. You never know if you’ll need these but it’s better not to have to find out. Ladies who’ve been through a tough emergency will tell you to also keep stocked with feminine hygiene products. No explanation needed.

Documentation

emergency 04This is an easy one to forget, but you should take it seriously. If a disaster or emergency gets serious, you may need to evacuate. Furthermore, you home may suffer damage. You’ll need to have your IDs, home/renter’s insurance information, health insurance documentation, and bank information at the ready. It’s a good idea to store these in a waterproof container and have easy access to it if you need to grab it in a hurry.

First-Aid Kit

emergencyA first-aid kit is something you should have at home regardless of any emergency. You never know when you’ll need to treat and injury. More importantly, if an emergency does occur, it may be hard for medical professionals to reach you if you need help, so the best thing to do is keep a robust first-aid kit at home.

The American Red Cross suggests packing a First-Aid kit with the following items:

  • absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • TweezersFirst aid instruction booklet

Keeping It All Together

Some of the items I’ve listed here are common sense, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t keep enough supplies at the ready for an emergency. That’s why you see all these crazy lines and shortages at stores right before a hurricane hits for example. Do yourself a favor and do a little work ahead of time so you can keep cool when you need to.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy October,

Dr. Johnson