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My goal with Dash of Jazz is to help you master the art of adulting, right? That usually includes things like getting better sleep, easy meal ideas, or maybe career advice. Another important but often overlooked part of adulting is emergency preparedness. It isn't glamorous but is so relevant at this stage in our lives. I became a homeowner 2.5 years ago and, within months, Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area...hard. Our city and many others were devastated by damage, shortages, and even loss of life. I was traveling when Harvey struck and, thankfully, my home was ok but the gravity of being ready for disaster became immediately apparent.
I quickly invested in flood insurance and researched emergency preparedness. Growing up in Houston, I remember hearing annual TV and radio news segments about stocking up on bottled water and fueling up your car ahead of a possible disaster. But more than anything, helping others recover through community and church volunteer activities helped educate me on what we need to have on hand after a devastating event like a flood or tornado. I've put together an emergency checklist that draws on this experience and conventional wisdom to help prepare you and your home, just in case.
Why you Need an Emergency Checklist & Kit
Whatever you believe about climate change, we can all acknowledge that serious weather events seem to be more frequent these days. Most of us know someone who has been impacted by an emergency situation, if we haven't been ourselves. A worst-case scenario can emerge at any given time and, as real grownups, we have to take preparedness into our own hands. Stay ready so you don't have to get ready!
How to Build Your Emergency Kit
When building your own emergency checklist, there are a few factors to consider:
- Where do you live? And what types of disasters commonly strike this area?
- What type of home do you have--traditional house, condo, townhouse, apartment?
- What is your family size (include pets)?
Answering these questions will help you build an emergency kit tailored to the needs of your home and family. If I'm being honest, my ideal plan is to head to my parents' house on the other side of town if there's a threat of disaster (so I'm counted in their emergency plan). 🙂 But the thing about disasters is that they don't give you ideal circumstances. So I prepared a kit at my own home aimed at hurricane/flood preparedness for one person in a traditional one-story house. Below is an emergency checklist with general items you can apply to your situation, as necessary. Print it AND save it to your phone.
Here's more detail on each thing you'll need in your kit. I was able to fulfill my emergency checklist by shopping at my local Walmart!
- Three gallons water for drinking & bathing: Per person in your household. This is the minimum.
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food: Again, per person in your household. Check expiration dates, consider any dietary needs/allergies, and try to have a variety.
- Pet food & pads: to keep you and your fur baby comfortable in the event y'all are stuck in the house
- Manual can opener: for any canned food you may purchase
- Hand sanitizer: Water is even more precious in an emergency state. Hand sanitizer will help you to reserve the H2O for drinking and bathing without sacrificing cleanliness.
- Moist towelettes or wipes: See hand sanitizer. 🙂
- First Aid kit: This is a great idea to have on hand always but particularly important when you can't leave the house or be accessed by emergency personnel as easily.
- Flashlight: clutch in the event you lose power
- Battery-powered radio: this will help you stay up to date on important local information regardless of your power situation and if your devices are charged.
- Energizer® Batteries: More on why I stock these below!
- Candles: because you may not have electricity or gas to cook, light, and warm things.
- Matches: to light the candles. Store them in something waterproof like a zip-top bag.
- Power banks for cell phones, tablets, etc.: in case you aren't able to plug into or get to an outlet. And be sure to keep them charged!
- Garbage Bags: for cleanup, containment, and normal disposal
- Basic Tools (Hammer, Wrench, Screwdriver): whether or not you're "Miss Fix It" you (or someone in your family) may have to attend to something in or outside your home to keep out a draft, stop a leak, etc.
- Duct Tape: for minor fixes in a pinch--like a storm-cracked window--and doesn't duct tape work for just about everything?
- Fire Extinguisher: a good idea to have at home anyway but especially for when natural disasters strike because, between the overwhelming demand for first responders and thing like flood waters or fallen trees, you may not get help as quickly.
When creating or updating an emergency kit, I prefer to stock Energizer batteries and there are two varieties perfect for an emergency kit: Energizer MAX® and Lithium. Here are my reasons. MAX AA batteries hold their power for up to 10 years in storage, which is important for an emergency kit. They also protect your devices from damaging leaks. Because imagine the eye roll when you need to use your flashlight and not only does it not work but the batteries have leaked out inside and you don't have a backup! Lithium is the world's longest-lasting AA battery and actually holds the Guinness World Record for longest-lasting AA battery. It also has a lightweight, leak-resistant design and 20-year shelf life. Both come in new packaging that makes them easier to spot when shopping.
Overlooked Emergency Preparedness Tips
- Don't wait until you need an emergency kit to prepare one. Make your list, check it twice, and assemble your kit in the off season.
- Ideally, you never have to use your emergency kit but you should examine the contents regularly and replenish as needed. Things expire. This is where Energizer® batteries shine.
- Store your emergency kit in a cool dry place. Your garage or attic may seem like a good choice but think about how the temperatures in those rooms will affect the emergency kit's contents. Additionally, you may not be able to get to those places safely during an emergency.
I hope this information and emergency checklist helps you and your family stay prepared. Share this with everyone who needs it and, as always, thanks for reading!
Click below to shop Energizer Max and Energizer Lithium Batteries for your Emergency Checklist!