- Water—the most essential item in any kit, plan on 2 to 3 litres per person per day. If staying in the home, allow one large water-cooler bottle per person. Use litre bottles for a “go bag.”
- Radio—useful for listening to emergency messages, instructions, and to hear critical weather reports. With a hand crank radio, you won’t need to worry about the batteries going dead or leaking in your bag.
- $50 in small bills—Start with a minimum of $50 in small bills as most bank machines and credit cards don’t work when the power is out. Some people earmark $20 per paycheque to put into the kit and gradually build enough for any major long-term emergency.
- Candle and matches—when the flashlight batteries are gone, this will be a good light source and can also be used to make a fire.
- Toilet paper—if you’ve ever been caught without toilet paper, you know what a simple luxury this is.
- Toiletries—small toothbrush and toothpaste, bar of soap, mouthwash or gum, shampoo. Stash them in a clear plastic, zip bag.
The Intermediate Kit (cost—approximately $20 plus the cost of a first aid kit)
You will want to add the following to the Essentials Basic Kit above. The checklist doesn’t cost anything, but will be useful in identifying things (such as a computer or camera) that you wouldn’t want or couldn’t have sitting in the emergency bag all year. All of these are small, affordable, and easy-to-carry.
- Garbage bags—can be used for garbage, as rain gear, and other useful things.
- First Aid Kit—unless you have first aid training, a basic kit will do.
- Photocopy of prescriptions and vital documents—such as insurance, driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, will—stored tight in a plastic bag.
- An out-of-town contact name, number, and email to reunite dispersed family members. Make sure everyone knows who the contact person is.
- Emergency blanket and hand warmer/heat pack—cheap, small, and wonderful.
- Small, easy-to-eat food—candies, nuts, granola bars. Small, can be easily carried, inexpensive and better than nothing. Be sure to rotate as per expiration date. An emergency is no place to worry about diets!A checklist—Every family has items that are expensive, “one of a kinds,” or heirlooms that you wouldn’t want to lose. This checklist will help you identify what is critical to gather on very short notice:
- Monthly or weekly computer backup
- Work gloves
- Tools – Minor repairs, shut off the gas when instructed, debris cleanup.
- Pet records; vaccinations
- Medical records
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Canned food and manual can opener/ready to eat meals
- Camp stove
- Extra clothes – take some of those old comfy clothes
- Extra car keys and house keys—easy things to lose in the confusion
- Duct tape
- Tarp—can make tent, rain cover
- Small pocket knife
- Camera—to record damage, situation or for presentations and debriefings (if video capable).
- Good book or cards
- Sun Block, sun glasses, sun hat—OR—
- Winter mitts (not gloves), balaclava, ski goggles—in case of extreme cold.
The Emergency Plan
An emergency plan isn’t much good if no one knows about it. The following questions need to be discussed as a family. If a child is old enough to know their own home phone number, they are old enough to memorize an out-of-area emergency number of a friend or relative to reunite families.
- Where would you go if the family were to become separated?
- Who would you call to find out or let others know who is okay?
- What escape routes are there from you home?
- Have you discussed these with every family member?
For more information, check out the Government of Canada 72 Hour Kit website at http://www.aema.alberta.ca/documents/72hrEMPreparedness.pdf or search online: “72 Hour Kit”.