Preparing an emergency kit for your car and home can help you and your family if any type of emergency affects your routine. You don’t need to buy one premade -- you can collect your own supplies as your budget allows.
Food: Non-perishable items with a good shelf life; easy to make (i.e. canned soup, protein bars)
Water: At least one gallon per person, per day (optional: water purification tablets or device)
Pets: Food, water, and medications for them as well.
Flashlight(s): Battery powered, best to have at least two (with spare batteries)
Radio: Am/FM/weather radio (with spare batteries or better yet—solar or crank powered)
Cell phone: Cables for charging, spare and pre-charged rechargers, crank/solar charger (for IU-Notify messages, weather alerts, news, and contacting family/friends.)
Two-way radios: “Walkie-talkies” are great in case you have to split up for some reason.
Spare Batteries: For all these things. (Tip: try to get them all with the same size battery.)
Whistle: Whistles are great signaling devices (saves your voice from yelling).
First-Aid Kit: The usual stuff that comes in a small kit from almost any pharmacy or store
plus some extra gloves, extra face masks, and a minimum of seven days worth of any prescription medications.
Toilet Paper: You don’t want to have to be scrounging around for it and it also can serve other functions (ex. helping start a fire, etc.).
Soap/Hygiene items: Small bar of soap, toothbrush, wet-wipes, washcloth.
Bleach (or disinfecting wipes): A little bit mixed in with some water goes a long way.
Clothes: Multiple layers of clothes (sweater/sweatshirt, jacket, rain jacket, hat, gloves).
Blankets: Regular blankets are good. “Space blankets” are also an option. Blankets can be used to cover windows, keep you warm, build shelter, carry things, etc.
Sleeping bag: To keep you warm and to sleep in/on.
Tarps/plastic sheets: for covering broken windows and for building shelter.
Duct tape and trash bags: Can be used as an alternative to the above items plus they are more portable and more versatile. (Trash bags can be shelter, rain poncho, etc. Duct tape fixes all.)
Small tool kit or multi-tool: Knife, can opener, screwdriver, pliers, all in one.
Candles: For both light and warmth (make sure you include matches or a lighter).
Local maps: Don’t depend on your phone (it may be dead or near dead). Mark your meeting places on the map in advance so you don’t have to remember them.
Extra cash: Small bills are good.
Personal documents: IU ID, driver’s license, Social Security card, credit cards, health insurance card, etc.
Contact information: Phone numbers (home, mobile, work) for family and friends (again, don’t depend on your phone).
Backpack(s): To carry all this stuff in case you can’t stay where you are. A spare (empty) backpack to carry additional supplies or water.
POSTIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE: the single most important survival item. It will get you further than anything else. Pack what you need to make it happen (picture of family, deck of cards, pack of gum, special book, etc.)
Don’t forget that you may need additional things if you have kids, pets, or special medical needs.
Additional considerations for a car kit:
- If you regularly commute in “work clothes” (especially shoes) that would be unsuitable for harsh weather (high heels, sandals, skirts, shorts, thin athletic clothing, etc.) you may want to consider extra clothing for your car kit as well (cold weather or wet weather clothes).
- A small shovel and ice melt/cat litter/sand for better traction.
- Water can be tricky to store in cold weather in your car where it may freeze. Make sure you have containers that allow for freezing.
- Jumper cables.