You Get To Decide How Prepared You’d Like To Be!

An emergency kit checklist is indispensible if you have a power outage or need to evacuate. Travel, estate planning, and car buying checklists are also important.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That was devastatingly true in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. The unprepared had a miserable time.

Can you imagine your relief if you were one of those who had stored water, food, extra cash, and gasoline to enable you to evacuate the area. You would not be in the same situation that most of those families were.

There would be lots of worries and heartache, but less immediate uncertainties. That would be even more important if children were involved.

My objective is to provide you with information that you can use to be better prepared if an evacuation is necessary.

I will not be able to record every item that you could need in an emergency. But, I will list some items that you may not have thought about.

I will also encourage you to have a list – a list that will likely become your life line in an emergency.

What Is Most Important?

You may remember seeing empty store shelves and long waits at gas stations during those two devastating hurricanes. Here is the lesson learned.

Bottled water was depleted first. That was followed by canned goods, dried food, and snacks - then everything else.

If you car doesn’t have a full tank of gas when a storm is predicted, you are not ready and you are vulnerable. Extra, full gas cans are necessary. Remember the long lines at gas stations. Also, there will be no gasoline without electrical power to pump it.

The news reports will describe the dilemma of the unprepared.

Now Let Us Get To What You Will Need!

The three basics are: water, food, and shelter. Followed closely by gasoline for evacuation. I will not steer you in the direction of the “Doomsday Preppers” as their views may be extreme.

(What strikes me about that TV program is that they fear that different disasters that may occur. Maybe it is just programming hype.)


You will need ½ to 1 gallon per day for each person. If you can remain in your home and you have not stored water, use the water in your pipes by draining the water from the lowest faucet (after opening the highest faucet).

Next, turn off the power to your water heater. Then open the drain at the bottom of the tank.

Rainwater, streams, and lakes may provide water outside of your home. I choose to have several containers of drinking water and a filtering system to decontaminate water.

Water in toilet flush tanks, radiators, water beds, and swimming pools is not safe to consume.


Many families are subjected to power outages. Eat the refrigerated food first. Then the food in the freezer. Then the canned goods and dried food.

Store food in a dry, cool environment – out of the sun.

Keep crackers and cookies in sealed plastic bags or sealed containers. Keep nuts and dried fruits in airtight jars.

Inspect all food for signs of spoilage. Discard perishable foods, including poultry and meat that have been at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Eat foods with a high liquid content if water supplies are low.

One of the best ways to avoid sickness is to keep your hands clean when handling food. Use alcohol-based wipes, if soap and running water are not available.

You Get To Decide Which Of These Items
Is Important For You!

  • manual can opener
  • prescription medications
  • paper plates & plastic utensils
  • flashlight (extra batteries)
  • cell phone (vehicle charger)
  • radio (hand crank)
  • extra cash (credit or debit card)
  • first aid kit (with antibiotic ointment)
  • eye glasses (contact lenses)
  • sleeping bags or blankets
  • some tools
  • important documents (checkbook, etc.)
  • latex and work gloves
  • paper and pen
  • emergency contact information
  • hand wipes
  • rain gear
  • 2-way radios
  • duct tape
  • maps
  • matches
  • extra clothes
  • soap
  • feminine hygiene supplies
  • aspirin or other pain-relief meds.
  • scissors and tweezers

Evacuation Plan!

Select two or three possible destinations. Congestion may be a problem if others are also evacuating.

You need to know what natural disasters can strike in your area. You, also, need to know what to do when the time comes. Listen to the news and watch the weather.

Load your supplies (above) and be the first to leave the area when authorities tell you to evacuate. Your family’s safety may depend on your preparation.

Senior citizens need to create a support network that will provide assistance in time of need. Friends, family, and neighbors may need to provide assistance.

These arrangements need to be made prior to an emergency. Methods of contacting each other are imperative. Do not rely on telephones working.

Learn about each other’s needs. It may be prudent to subscribe to a “lifeline”.

Return to the top of Emergency Kit Checklist.