Hurricane season always makes Florida residents start thinking about if their family is prepared in case of an emergency, but we should be taking steps year round to ensure our safety and the safety of our loved ones. Instead of waiting until hurricane season to start or replenish your family emergency kit, try adding a few things each month. This will keep you from having to spend a lot of money at one time and allow you to purchase items at their best sale price. To help you and your family get started I’ve put together a list of items you may want to include. Remember to get the whole family involved so they know what is in the box and what it should be used for; most importantly what they should do in case of an emergency. If you have small kids at home, hold an emergency drill once every month or two; this will keep them (mostly) calm in an emergency situation because they know where to go and what to do!
72 Hour Emergency Kit Starter Items:
Month 1– Container for supplies, 1 flash light per person with extra batteries, current family or individual photos labeled, emergency exit route (laminated), important phone numbers list (laminated), current list of medications and allergies (laminated), $20 cash in various bills (remember power failure makes debit/credit card machines inoperable)
Month 2– Toiletry items, blankets, paper towels, can opener, candles & matches, $20 cash in various bills
Month 3– First Aid kit, bottled and jugs of water, canned/instant food items, small pot, propane camping grill, $20 cash in various bills
Month 4– One change of clothes per family member plus extra under garments, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, $20 cash in various bills, limited entertainment (playing cards, paper, pens, toys for little ones, etc.)
These items should be adapted to meet the needs and size of your family. Always remember to replenish the kit (especially perishable items!) either at the end or beginning of each hurricane season so you are always prepared.
Originally published in our monthly column for the Madison Enterprise Recorder.