Make your emergency kit now

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2021

This time of year, the hurricane preparedness message always bears repeating.

With our area threatened by its first tropical system — Elsa, which will be moving through on Thursday and bringing the potential for heavy rain and tornadoes — it is never a bad time to think about preparedness, if not for this system, then maybe for the next one.

A little over a month ago, we addressed hurricane preparedness in this space and urged you to download the FEMA app to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service; to enable Wireless Emergency Alerts on your smartphone or use a NOAA Weather Radio; to purchase flood insurance, for which you can find more information on floodsmart.gov; and to know your zone, for which you can find more information on knowyourzoneva.org.

Here, we will talk specifically about what should be in your emergency kit, which can help you not only in a hurricane but also in any number of other emergencies. Here are some of the most vital items for your kit:

  • An out-of-town contact to help your household reconnect
  • At least a 3-day supply of water and non-perishable food
  • Infant supplies such as formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
  • Medications for at least one week and copies of prescriptions
  • Medical equipment, assistive technology and backup batteries
  • First aid kit and antibiotic ointment
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and antacids
  • Prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and solution
  • Medical alert tags/bracelets
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Multipurpose tool and can opener
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Paper cups, paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Cell phone, charger and a backup battery
  • Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above)
  • Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Emergency cash funds to sustain your family several days. Credit or debit cards may not work if networks are down.
  • Waterproof storage bag or container for critical paperwork. Consider storing a password-protected backup of your records on a virtual cloud service.
  • Driver’s licenses and passports
  • Vehicle registrations and proof of insurance
  • Medical and vaccination records
  • Prescription medicine labels
  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Marriage certificates and wills
  • Proof of residence (deed or lease)
  • Business and personal tax records
  • Bank account records
  • Household inventory (photo or video)
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Surface disinfectants and wipes
  • Bleach and rubbing alcohol
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Menstrual supplies
  • Books, games, puzzles, favorite stuffed toys and sensory items for children
  • Photo albums
  • Valuables and jewelry
  • Place ID tags on collars and micro-chip pets
  • Description and current photos of pets
  • Immunization and medical records
  • 1.5 gallons of water and sufficient food and medicine for at least three days per pet
  • Pet medication, copy of feeding and medication schedule for caregiver, shelter or boarding staff
  • Serving bowls
  • Collar, leash and carrier
  • Pet toys and bedding