When you’re unprepared for a disaster that strikes unexpectedly, your family’s basic needs, along with their well-being, can be in jeopardy. What if all the grocery stores are closed in your area, or your local emergency shelter turns you away because of full capacity? What will you do then?
That’s why it’s so critical that you gather certain supplies, food, and water so that your bad situation doesn’t go from bad to worse. For those of you who have a family, that means thinking about stockpiling larger quantities and having the right supplies that a certain individual in your family may require. These are emergency essentials that every family should have.
Emergency Essentials Every Family Should Have
When you’re stocking up on foods, here are a few things to think about. Try and stick with non-perishable food items that have a much longer shelf-life so that they aren’t out of date when you need them.
Also, focus on gathering foods that don’t require refrigeration or don’t necessarily need to be cooked before eating. Your emergency food supply should be able to feed everyone in your family for a minimum of 3 days.
You also need to strongly consider purchasing food items that your family likes to eat. You don’t want to have food for a disaster that no one in the family wants to eat. Take a look at these few examples of food that would be wise to stock up on:
- Canned meat, vegetables, and fruit (don’t forget a manual can opener)
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Fruit and protein bars
- Beef sticks and jerky
- Peanut butter
- Comfort foods for children (snack cakes, fruit snacks, chips, etc.)
- Gatorade and Pedialyte
Water is arguably your number one essential on this list because you’ll only last a few days without it. When a disaster strikes, there’s the possibility that you’ll have contaminated drinking water available, or no water for that matter.
The general rule is that an individual needs an average of one gallon of water each day for drinking and sanitation purposes. Be sure to gather at least a 3 day supply of water for each person, so if you have four people in your family, that’s a minimum of 12 gallons of water.
But as you know, I feel we need four gallons per person per day. I get thirsty just thinking about only one gallon a day. So for a family of four for a 3 day supply you should have 48 gallons stored away.
If you are feeding your baby formula or you happen to have pets, you’ll also need to take that into account and have extra water on hand. If you’re put in a situation where you have to evacuate your home, a portable water filter can be used to filter the water from almost any source. That way you’ll have fresh and clean water no matter where you are.
First aid kit
Don’t be caught in a disaster without a first aid kit, especially if you have younger children. It’s very likely that your family may get roughed up a bit, so you’ll need to be able to dress and bandage up your wounds. In case you missed one of my first aid kit posts, First Aid Kits by Linda
Your kit should include latex gloves, dressings, adhesive bandages, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic and burn ointments, soap, antibiotic towelettes, eyewash solution, and a thermometer. A splint for broken bones may also be something that you should consider having on hand.
Over The Counter Medications (OTC)
When you’re under a lot of emotional and physical stress from the trauma that disasters often cause, there’s a good chance that you could get sick. Be sure to stock up on a number of over the counter medications to help with the symptoms. Aspirin, non-aspirin pain relievers, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal, antacids, and laxatives are just a few that you should consider. In case you missed this post, 35 OTC Medications You Should Store
Hand-crank or battery-powered radio
It could be the difference between life and death if you don’t have a radio to stay updated on weather reports and updates of conditions near your home. Get yourself a hand-crank or battery-powered portable radio so that you can know whether to evacuate or take shelter.
Multiple flashlights with extra batteries
Don’t be left in the dark following a disaster. Consider stocking up enough flashlights and extra batteries for each member of your family. I have some solar-powered flashlights I love. I also have some that crank to recharge the batteries.
Wrench and pliers
If you need to turn off your home’s utilities, don’t forget to have a wrench and some extra pliers so that you can do the job. It may not be necessary to turn things off, but it’s best to be prepared, just in case.
Duct tape is handy for any type of job, whether it’s helping to hold together a shelter or repair damaged clothing or broken windows. In case you missed this post, Duct Tape: Why You Need To Store It
A fire extinguisher can help you put out minor fires in your home so that your home doesn’t wind up being a total loss. In case you missed this post, Fire: How Can I Prevent One In My Home
Be sure to have additional clothing prepared and set aside, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants. If it’s winter when an emergency takes place, sweatshirts, jackets, gloves, snowsuits, and boots will all be a necessity.
It’s a miserable feeling once your shoes are soaking wet and your feet get cold. This is why you should have an extra pair of shoes on-hand for each one of your family members. Extra socks are also important, particularly if you have to change out your shoes due to moisture.
You can never have too many blankets, especially when your family is trying to stay warm after the power has gone out. In case you missed this post, 6 Reasons To Store Blankets For Any Emergency
You may need to be rescued from your home by emergency crews, but you may not have enough strength left for you to be heard if you try to scream or yell out. This is why a whistle is so critical for you to have since the sound carries such a long distance. I have several of these Whistles for Emergencies.
Depending on where you live please check out items that would be safe for heating your home where you live. I live in the desert and I’m going to use blankets. Lots of blankets. It’s hard if you live where fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are not allowed. The first 40 years of being married to Mark we always had a fireplace with a wood-burning stove or insert. Not now, and our HOA will not allow them.
Additional Items Depending On Your Family’s Needs
A vast majority of all the emergency supplies and essentials that every family should stock up on will look fairly similar, but there will certainly be a number of differences. That’s because every family is unique from one another and has different needs. What works for one family make’s entirely little sense for another. These are several other emergency essentials that you should consider stocking up on if they relate to you and your family:
- Prescriptions and medications (rotate periodically)
- Other Essential medical supplies (blood pressure and glucose monitoring equipment)
- Glasses, Contacts, and Solution
- Personal Hygiene and feminine products
- Diapers, wipes, and baby formula
- Baby food
- Dog or cat food
- Cat litter
- Additional water for your pets, you need water based on the weight of your pet. One ounce of water per pound (weight of the pet) each day. So, if your dog weighs ten pounds you need ten ounces of water each day.
When you’re prepping for an entire family, there’s a lot more that you have to consider than when you’re living on your own. These are several emergency essentials that your family should have in case a disaster were to ever happen to you. What are some other supplies that you can think of that may have not made my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts. May God Bless this world, Linda.
Copyright Images: First Aid Kit AdobeStock_333791400 by Vitalii