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What Every Auto and Home Emergency Kit Should Contain


Emergencies can happen at any time, and they usually strike completely without warning. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, car troubles, explosions and other catastrophes are the last thing you probably want to think about, but not thinking about the unexpected could put you and your family in danger.


In the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, your emergency kit should at least provide for your most basic needs: food, water, warmth, and clean air (using a dust mask or even old t-shirt).

Emergencies often sweep you up in chaos and panic. What is needed during this time are the basic essentials of survival … is your family prepared for such an occasion?

If not, NOW is the time to prepare an emergency kit for your home and your car. It may take a few errands to collect all of the essentials, but who can put a price on your family's security?

Preparing an Emergency Kit for Your Home

Every family should keep the basics necessary for at least three days of survival (for each family member and pet) on hand at all times. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends including the following items in your kit:

  • Water: Plan on one gallon of water, per person per day, plus extra for pets

  • Food: Stock at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for each family member and pet (along with paper plates, cups and utensils). Good suggestions include ready-to-eat canned meals, meats, fruits and vegetables, canned juices and high-energy foods like granola bars, energy bars and nuts.

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries: To hear emergency instructions and news updates


If you have pets, remember to include extra food and water for them in your emergency kit.

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • First-aid kit

  • Whistle: To signal for help

  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt: In the event air is contaminated, you can place it over your nose and mouth to help filter the air

  • Moist towelettes: For sanitation

  • Wrench or pliers: To turn off utilities

  • Can opener: To open canned foods

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape: To "seal" your room by taping windows and other outlets closed if outside air is contaminated

  • Other family necessities: This could include prescription medications, infant formula, diapers, important family documents, etc.

  • Garbage bags and plastic ties: For personal sanitation

  • Household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper: You can use 16 drops of regular bleach to one gallon of water to treat water supplies in an emergency

  • Extra blankets if you live in a cold climate

Preparing an Emergency Kit for Your Car

In the event your car breaks down and you become stranded, here are the essentials you should keep in your car's emergency kit:

  • A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit

  • Jumper cables, a tool kit and tire chains

  • A blanket and some warm winter clothes (in cold climates)

  • A bag of sand or salt, to use for traction if a tire gets stuck

  • A snowbrush, ice scraper and snow shovel (in cold climates)

  • A container of wiper fluid and paper towels

  • Some non-perishable food and water

Put your emergency supplies into one consolidated container or even a couple of backpacks. Then, store your emergency kits in an easy-to-find location in your home and vehicle, and make sure that every family member knows where to find them.

While you can't predict if and when a disaster may strike, you can give yourself peace of mind that you'll be well prepared.

Recommended Reading

If Natural or Terrorist Disaster Occurs, Do You Have a Family Plan? (Download Your FREE Planner Now)

Flooding: How to Best Prepare Your Home for It, and How to Respond to It If Floods Have Already Hit


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