10 Emergency Items You Didn’t Know You Needed
In a recent blog post we wrote about hurricane predictions for 2014. Hurricane season begins June 1st so now is a good time to check your supplies or get supplies together. The Red Cross has a good list of basic supplies you need in your kit, but here are a few things you may not have thought of:
- Cash – We’re all use to the convenience of debit and credit cards. However, if the power is out, ATMs and swipe machines are useless. You’ll need cash in small denominations if you need to restock essentials.
- Heavy-duty trash bags – After a disaster, heavy-duty trash bags are everyone’s best friend. Make sure you have a full box of the largest, thickest industrial-strength trash bags you can find. You can use them for everything from personal hygiene to debris clean up. In a pinch they can be taped together to form a temporary tarp.
- Clothesline or bungee cords – Duct tape is great, but it’s not totally waterproof or wind proof. Clothesline and bungee cords are inexpensive in bulk and can be used to anchor tarps, tie doors shut, restrain stray dogs and bundle debris.
- Insect repellant – Natural disasters often come with a lot of rain. Rain means a lot of flying insects. Even if you gravitate toward natural insect repellant the rest of the time, keep a few cans of DEET-based repellant on hand. In a disaster, the doors and windows can be damaged and you’ll need extra protection from biting bugs!
- Plastic tarps – Whether you need to construct an emergency shelter for people or animals, or need to keep supplies dry or protect a damaged house, after a disaster big, sturdy tarps can keep things from going from bad to worse.
- Sunscreen– after a disaster it’s likely that you’ll be spending a good deal of time outside cleaning up at your home and around the neighborhood. Be sure you’ve stashed a good supply of waterproof, high SPF sunscreen. A hat with a wide brim is also good to have.
- Camera and spare battery (for insurance purposes) – A camera is about the last gadget you’d think to keep safe in an emergency, but having one can seriously expedite your insurance claim. Keep a small point-and-shoot nearby in a dry container so you can document damage as soon as it’s safe.
- Waterproof shoes – Natural disasters tend to come with plenty of dirty water. Invest in a cheap pair of rubber boots or consign an old pair of waterproof shoes to the emergency kit.
- Hand saw or ax – If you need to clear debris without electricity, this inexpensive piece of manual technology can be a lifesaver. After Hurricane Katrina, many people in low-lying areas now keep an ax in the attic or the highest exit point of their house in case they need to break out to the roof.
- Solar cell phone charger – Cell phone batteries never seem to last long, and if you’re without the ability to charge yours, you may be off the grid even if cell phone service is operable. Solar cell phone chargers are inexpensive. Don’t keep yours in a dark emergency kit though, keep it in a sunny window so it’s always charged and ready to go.