The world is unpredictable, that is a fact. You may think nothing can go wrong with your life and then the next day everything can be chaos. The economy and social balance may seem stable, but one small tip in the wrong direction can leave it crumbling. The weather may be sunny, but the next day a tornado touches down in your backyard. Disasters happen and you need to be ready when they do. Television shows like Doomsday Preppers have conditioned normal people that having supplies in the event of an emergency is strange and should be mocked. However, when something does go wrong they will be ready. Some of them may be a little too ready, but they can survive none the less.

Going over the top is probably a little insane, but everyone should have the basic supplies in the event of an emergency. Below are some supplies that you should consider gathering while days are still sunny. Your family will be thankful that you do have them when it is needed. Never let anyone make you feel silly for being prepared to fight for the welfare of your family.

first aid kit

First-Aid Kit

Every first aid kit should be tailored to your family’s specific needs, but here is a general list that should be in every emergency situation first-aid kit. Be sure if you use an item, such as bandages, to replace them. Check the expiration dates every six months and replace as necessary.

Prescription medications / equipment – Keep at least a 14-day supply if possible, should include extra eyeglasses, contacts and solution, blood glucose meter, and hearing aid with extra batteries if needed.
2 pairs of sterile gloves
Sterile gauze and adhesive bandages
Multipurpose tool or pocket knife
Soap / Hand Sanitizer
Rubbing alcohol and peroxide
Antibiotic ointment
Burn ointment
Aspirin or other pain relievers
Anti-diarrhea medicine

important documents

Essential Papers

Have copies of the following important documents tucked away with some extra cash in a sealed container. Make sure it is well hidden from thieves, but easily accessible in case you need to grab it quickly.

Have emergency contact information for friends, family, doctors, and insurers. Make sure to write down names, addresses, and phone numbers. It is disturbing how much people rely on cell phones to remember all this information these days.

Have ID cards including a photo ID, health insurance, social security card, and passport. These things, when lost, are a terrible pain to get back and are handy to get supplies after a natural disaster.

Keep copies of your family records. Be sure to keep official copies of your marriage certificate, your children’s birth certificates, and if you are a widow or widower a copy of a death certificate.

Keep copies of medical and immunization records as well as prescriptions. After a disaster, further immunizations may be needed for things like tetanus and it will be helpful for on scene doctors to be able to see immunization records. Keeping copies of your prescription records will help you be able to get your medication smoothly.

Include any wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds and leases into the box in case there is any home or person damage.

Include passwords to online bank or retirement accounts, bank statements, retirement or investment records.

Pack in some extra cash as well as any valuables you want to protect. You may also want to include some local maps with points of interest highlighted.

bug out bag

Bug-Out Bag

In case of an evacuation, be sure to have a bag containing the following items as well as your first-aid kit and essential papers. For food and water, be sure to replace yearly or twice yearly.

 One gallon of water, per person, per day for as many as 3 days – If you have a big family, this can get kind of heavy. So you may want to create separate bags for each family member
3 day supply of nonperishable food, per person, per day
Hand crank or battery powered radio
Flashlight with extra batteries
Spare cell phone chargers
Extra set of both car and house keys
Matches or lighter in a waterproof container
Lightweight high insulation blanket
Extra clothing including a hat and sturdy shoes

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stay home stash

Stay Home Stash

Keep in a secure and dry place in your house preferably by your bug-out bags in case you have to dig in and stay at home for awhile. If you are in a tornado area, place it in your basement or cellar, wherever you go in that situation. For food and water be sure to replace yearly or twice yearly. If you hate to waste food, eat and replace after 6 months. Be sure to check cans of food for swelling, that is a sure sign of botulism and renders the food inside toxic to humans. Botulism slowly paralyzes the body and is definitely not something you want to ingest.

One gallon of water, per person, per day, for 14 days
 Nonperishable food items, enough for 14 days
A manual can opener or pocket knife with a can opener
Reusable plates and utensils – prefer metal over plastic.
Fire extinguisher
Work gloves
Face masks - this doesn't mean military grade gas masks, simple construction masks are not effective against say, mustard gas, but they will protect from some smoke inhalation, foreign particles, and airborne germs.
A toolbox including at least a hammer, nails, wrench, and pliers for reinforcement and utility shut off
Plastic sheeting and duct tape for covering windows
1 gallon of chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper for water purification
Extra blankets or sleeping bags
Rain ponchos and towels

This may seem like a lot of supplies to gather, however think of it as an investment. Sure you have to replace the food and water, but everything else lasts forever (until it is used) and can come in handy for other situations. Just be sure to replace anything that was used. Think of the anguish you would put yourself through if you used something for some random household projects, but them when a disaster came along, it is the one thing your desperately need.