Every emergency kit should have four essential items, and then build some. So first, we want water, food, a first aid kit, and medications. Water--a gallon per person, per day, for up to 3 days, and then build from there--trying to get to 2 weeks. Food--non-perishable items, things that don't need to be cooked, don't need to be refrigerated--I'm talking beef jerky, canned foods with a can opener--things you've tried before. This is not the time for big experimentation--you've got kids in the home; they didn't like asparagus before the disaster; they don't like asparagus after the disaster--stick with what they'll like. Stick with things you know they're not allergic to. A first-aid kit--you can pick one up at the store, you buy one online--no matter what you do, open it up and take a look. What's in there? Do you know how to use it? Not all kits are created equal. A 32-piece kit, a 55-piece kit...you're going to get different products, and none of them will have your medications in it. Any medications you take, whether they're over-the-counter or prescription, you want 10 days--because access to a pharmacy and your doctor is not going to be readily available following an emergency. So those are our four essentials.
From there, we want to keep building. We want a radio, a flashlight, and batteries for both because no electricity, no communication--those are going to be some of your greatest resources. Preparedness does not have to be expensive. Odds are, you have a flashlight rolling around in the back of a drawer somewhere. Find that now, grab some extra batteries, tape them to the outside, and throw it in the drawer and know that that's going to be reserved for the next emergency. So we have those essentials. Flashlight, batteries, radio, cash--small bills--start with $20, build up to $200--because after an earthquake, after a catastrophic emergency, we're not going to have electricity, which means no credit cards, no ATMs, no gas pumps. Have small bills on hand because people may not have change to give it to you. Important papers, pet food, pet supplies as well--you want to make sure that you've got those supplies on hand for every member of the family. For your emergency supplies kits, its a good idea to have one at home, at work, and in your car. You want to have it the places you spend the most amount of time, so that you have the supplies you need where you happen to be. On top of having that evacuation kit, start planning a kit for your home. Family supplies kit--that's that two week's worth of supplies--those essential items, and on top of it, add comfort items and hygiene items. No electricity, no running water, life does not feel normal--a deck of cards may be your best friend, especially if you've got kids and grandkids in the home. So, home kit, evacuation kit, and--oh, my favorite kit--a "by the bed" kit! Absolutely grab a pair of shoes--a sturdy pair of shoes--an extra pair of glasses, and a flashlight; put it in a bag, tie it to your bedpost, shove it ever so fashionably underneath the bed, and the next time that an earthquake happens, you know exactly where a pair of shoes and a flashlight are. Northridge--we were woken up between 3 and 4 in the morning--shattered glass, no electricity. You want to protect your feet and see where you're going. So get those 3 kits, and you will be a lot more prepared for the next emergency.