April 15th is D-Day for US taxpayers. The only other time you see lines as long at your local post office is during the winter holidays. Whether you’re part of the last-minute crowd or submitted your taxes back in March, your upcoming tax refund offers a chance to improve and revitalize your emergency supplies.
Many people already use April 15th as a reminder to check their smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other safety supplies, so why not use it for an annual review of your emergency food and other supplies? Spending your tax investment on disaster preparation is an investment that lasts for years.
Review and Replace
Over the winter, you may have used some of your emergency supplies, especially if your emergency food doubles as meals for outdoor activities. Prescription medication and first aid supplies you stored last year may have expired, and reserved batteries should be replaced with fresh ones. Stored water needs replacing to ensure freshness every six months anyway, so now’s as good a time as any to do so.
Now’s also a good time to review the latest emergency gadgets and tools, decide if any of them have a place in your supplies, and use your tax refund to purchase them without digging into the monthly budget.
New Family Members, Deductions, and Emergency Food
If you added a new child to the family last year, you’re going to be able to claim the little one as a dependent, which translates into a sizable tax deduction. You’re also going to need to add to your emergency food supply to adjust to the fact you now have one more mouth to feed, so why not use money from the deduction to invest in your child’s future safety?
If you’re not sure how much food you’ll need for your family, Wise offers easy-to-use food calculators to help you determine your needs.
Basic Emergency Supplies
If you’re just starting to consider what you need for emergency supplies, your tax refund will go a long way towards creating your supply base. Start with FEMA’s recommended basic supply list:
- At least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- Can opener
- Cash (in a disaster, ATMs will be down for an indefinite period)
- Dust mask, sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Emergency reference guides
- Extra glasses
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Fire Extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Household unscented chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
- Important family documents, identification, and insurance policed in a waterproof container
- Infant formula and diapers
- Local maps
- Matches in a waterproof container and a lighter
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
- One complete change of clothing per person. Include long sleeved shirts, long pants, underwear, sturdy shoes, and socks.
- One sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Pants and sturdy shoes
- Paper and pencil
- Pet food and extra water for pets
- Prescription medications
- Whistle to signal for help
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
If you’ve got your emergency supplies up-to-date, you might be considering using your tax refund to finally go on that camping, hunting, or backcountry hiking trip. Such trips are a wonderful way to use emergency food supplies that are still usable but need replacing for long-term storage. Check out our easy-to-carry meals, survival kits, water filtration and purification systems, and fire starters that you’ll enjoy on your well-deserved escape. Even if you’re taking a road trip or are hopping on a plane, our dehydrated meals make healthy quick snacks and will help you avoid those fast-food landmines!
This year, make your family’s safety a sure thing by using that tax refund to prepare for some of those other uncertainties that life throws at us!