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Preparing a Family Emergency Kit

In the past couple of years there have been a lot natural disasters that have caused people to question if their family would be prepared if disaster were to occur. Earthquakes, floods, or volcanic eruptions can occur at any time, and there are steps families can take to make sure they are prepared in the event that they are left without water or electricity, or worse, without shelter.

Out of Area Contacts

If something were to happen in the community where you live, you would want the rest of your extended family to find out what happened, right?

Make sure that you have at least one phone that does not require electricity. Even cordless phones require electricity to operate. On your phone's contact list, make sure to provide an emergency contact phone number for a friend or family member who lives out of state. Then if something were to happen to your entire neighborhood or community, someone would be able to contact someone who does not live near the affected area.

family emergency kit

Have all household members have the same out of area contact so that all members of the family can check in with the same person were the family to get separated for any reason.

Food and Water

To prepare for an emergency, you should have at least three days of food and water on hand. Recently 72 hour emergency kits have gained in popularity and you can buy them online and at many retailers. You can buy one that is already put together or you can make your own even more inexpensively.

Dry and canned food have a long shelf life, so they are ideal for your family emergency kit. You will also need a can opener. Don't forget your pets. Make sure you have extra food and water for your pets too. If you have an infant make sure to store extra formula too, if needed.

It is recommended to store one gallon of water per person per day, so you should store three gallons of water per person in case of an emergency. You can buy gallon containers of water, or wash and re-use 2-liter soda bottles to store water. Make sure to replace the water every 6 months to make sure the water is safe to drink.


You should have at least one change of clothing for each member of your family in your emergency kit. Several sleeping bags and blankets will help keep your family warm if the electricity were to go out. Don't forget an extra pair of shoes, and diapers if you have an infant in the home.

First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is a must. With a first aid kit you will be ready in case of sprains, cuts, minor burns, and more. It is a good idea to keep several first aid kits in case of an emergency. Keep one in your home, one in your car, and one in your emergency kit and you will be ready in case someone in your family ever needs minor medical attention.


Tools can be very important in the case of an emergency. You never know when you might need a shovel or an ax to remove debris or dig yourself out of a dangerous situation. You might also consider having an extra crescent wrench for turning off gas lines, a screwdriver, pliers, hammer, duct tape, a knife, and an extra garden hose, just in case.

Other Items

There are a number of other important items you should keep on hand in the case of emergency. Consider keeping copies of important documents such as birth certificates, licenses, and insurance policies in your emergency kit.

Waterproof matches are a must. You should also keep on hand flashlights with extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, a whistle, extra sets of house keys and car keys, garbage bags, and a list of contact names and phone numbers.

No one wants to think that they are ever going to be faced with an emergency or natural disaster. While it is possible it may never happen, why not be safe just in case? Even just having the power out for a day can cause inconveniences that you will not be prepared for if you do not have some sort of emergency kit prepared.

Copyright 2014, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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