Protecting your family is a big deal to you and to us. At JUDY, we believe in educating and equipping Americans to be prepared for emergencies so that everyone can stay as safe as possible and protect those they love if the worst happens. Over 60% of Americans have no plan for how to respond to an emergency. Without a plan and resources prepared, you can quickly be left floundering after a disaster hits.
What Do You Need To Keep Your Family Safe In A Crisis?
It may seem unlikely that a natural disaster or another emergency would catch you off guard and leave your family struggling to stay safe, but it can happen. We want to do everything we can to make sure you are ready for anything that comes your way, prepared, and able to protect your family from danger. That’s why we compiled this step-by-step guide to creating an emergency kit for you and your family. These steps are simple, practical, and easy to follow.
Like any good and worthwhile thing in life, committing to emergency preparedness is an investment of time and energy. However, it’s an investment that is sure to pay off, regardless of whether you and your family are struck by disaster in the foreseeable future. Being prepared to handle an emergency and protect your family means greater peace of mind and less anxiety for you. With a carefully-assembled family emergency kit, you won’t have to wonder whether or not you will be ready to act if a crisis arises.
So, without further ado, these are the five steps for successfully creating an emergency kit.
Step 1: Food
You and your family need nourishment to survive. In an emergency, though, some of the standard food rules and practices that your family might adhere to go out the window. In a crisis, eating is 100% for survival. If the food tastes good, that’s a welcome bonus. However, the primary word to keep in mind when adding food to your family’s emergency kit is sustenance. This food is what you turn to to keep you and your family alive. It’s a last resort, not necessarily what you would eat on a daily basis.
An important consideration to make when determining what food to pack in your emergency kit is whether any members of your family have dietary restrictions. If anyone has food allergies, especially severe ones, always make sure to avoid packing food for anyone in the family that includes ingredients that someone is allergic to. Intolerances matter, too – you need food that everyone can eat without getting sick.
In addition to being free of any ingredients that family members are allergic to or intolerant of, your emergency food needs to be non-perishable. Non-perishable food is shelf-stable, needing no refrigeration to stay fresh.
Why does emergency food need to be non-perishable? The main reason is to guarantee that it will still be safe to eat if it cannot be refrigerated due to lack of electricity. Emergency food would not be much good to you if you could only use it with a working refrigerator. Since power outages caused by bad weather and natural disasters can quickly cause the food in your fridge to become unsafe to eat, perishable food is not a reliable option for emergencies.
Emergency food also needs to be non-perishable so that it can be transported. If you need to quickly evacuate your home, the food you take with you needs to be easy to carry, open, and eat. Sealed, pre-packaged foods like energy bars are the perfect source of emergency nutrition because they can stay fresh for years and are easy to stash in your emergency kit and take with you.
Step 2: Water
This step in the process of assembling your family emergency kit is quick and simple. You need a reliable source of water that can keep you and your family hydrated for at least a full day, ideally longer.
Your emergency water source, like your food, needs to be non-perishable as well, safe to drink even after years of storage. That’s why we at JUDY recommend using non-perishable pouches of water as your hydration source of choice. Unlike plastic water bottles, which can expire over time, pouches can last years and are much less cumbersome than bulky bottles.
Step 3: Warmth
Your family needs reliable protection from rain and cold in case an emergency forces you to evacuate your home. Even if a crisis leaves you and your family homebound, you can still greatly benefit from easy-to-use sources of warmth. If you live in an area that frequently experiences bad blizzards in the winter months, your emergency kit can especially come in handy on freezing nights if the power has gone out.
Some of the best resources to turn to for staying warm and dry are also some of the most portable. Ponchos are a better option than raincoats for your emergency kit because they take up much less space. Likewise, emergency blankets made of heat-reflecting foil are much easier to carry in your family’s emergency kit than full-sized blankets would be. Hand warmers are also a great item to stash in your emergency kit, providing hours of warmth when you need it most.
Step 4: First Aid And Safety
If someone gets injured and you can’t get to the doctor’s office or emergency room, you’ll need to rely on the resources in your family’s emergency kit to administer first aid. First aid gear serves to help treat an injury immediately after it happens, working to slow and stop bleeding, reduce the risk of infection, and help get an injured person as comfortable as possible until help can be reached.
Your family’s emergency kit should be well-stocked with basic first aid supplies – this means everything you need to help treat burns, bumps, scrapes, cuts, and other run-of-the-mill injuries.
You also need a way of keeping your hands clean and quickly sanitizing wounds. That’s where hand sanitizer comes in. In circumstances where you can’t get to soap and running water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used to quickly rid your hands of germs that could potentially cause you or someone else to get sick. The alcohol in hand sanitizer can also serve as a disinfectant for cuts.
Some important additional first aid and safety resources to pack in your family’s emergency kit include masks, towels, and a biohazard bag for disposing of anything potentially toxic. Masks help to filter out germs, smoke, and dust, and keeping one for each member of your family in your emergency kit is a must. Towels can be used to quickly mop up spills – opt for a towel that is quick-drying and as absorbent as possible. A biohazard bag is a must-have item for dealing with any waste from treating injuries to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Step 5: Tools
If an emergency leaves you without power, you need a source of light that does not require electricity. Tools like flashlights, glow sticks, and even candles can make a huge difference in your ability to navigate an emergency well. Stock your family’s emergency kit with electricity-free sources of light so that you can see in the dark if you are left without power due to a natural disaster.
In addition to light sources, your emergency kit should also include a reliable means of making quick repairs if bad weather or a natural disaster leaves your home damaged. We highly recommend packing a roll of duct tape in your emergency kit to quickly patch up holes, rips, and leaks that could let in wind, rain, and cold. Duct tape is durable and flexible, making it the perfect tool for a temporary repair.
If you don’t have access to a full-sized toolbox in the midst of an emergency, a multi-tool can be a game-changer. With miniature versions of some of the most important tools in your toolbox, a multi-tool can be used for a plethora of purposes, including cutting lengths of tape and gauze, unscrewing battery slots on flashlights and other tools, and more. It’s a highly versatile utility that you never want to be without.
Stay Prepared With A Fully-stocked Emergency Kit For Your Family.
If an emergency hits, your family’s survival kit can mean the difference between being overwhelmed and successfully navigating the crisis. You can either assemble your own kit with the items listed in the sections above or purchase one of JUDY’s pre-assembled kits with items hand-picked by experts in the field of emergency preparedness.
You won’t regret keeping a kit with emergency supplies at the ready in your home. If you ever need to quickly evacuate or are forced to ride out an emergency in your home, the resources inside your emergency kit can make a huge difference for you and your family.
If you have additional questions, send them our way!