Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Emergency kit

Local flooding
What do you need in an emergency kit? A quick bit of googling opens you up to a whole world of disaster planning for the apocalypse! I think that I might be too scared to leave the house for a while...

Anyway, to get started the red cross have a useful crib sheet to fill print out and fill in here. This is great to have lots of useful contact numbers in one place.

As I'm not intending to pull together a bug-out bag for hiding out out in the mountains many of the emergency kit lists online seem a bit extreme. The sort of emergencies I am considering are power cuts and circumstances due to poor weather. Again the British Red Cross have a useful page for preparing a winter emergency kit here. So lets work through this:

  • List of emergency contact number. Crib sheet as above.
  • Battery operated torch and spare batteries (or a wind-up torch). We have plenty of torches but keep cycling through rechargeable batteries which are great for normal use. This was a problem with the last power cut which was almost three days, we were unable to recharge them. I now have a supply of non-rechargeable batteries to pack away in the kit. I would also like to get a wind up lantern to tuck away. We have gone through a few wind up torches but they don't seem to be very sturdy so I won't be getting these again. 
  • Battery operated radio and spare batteries (or a wind-up radio). I don't think that we have one of these at the moment. It's not worth purchasing one as our mobile phones and cars have radios but it is something to consider for the future as both of those options are less than ideal.
  • Any essential medication, toiletries and a first aid kit. This isn't something that I'm planning to have tucked away. But I do need to sort through my current medicine kit and ensure that it is complete and grab-able should I need to do so. Putting together a simple one for the car would be a good idea too.  
  • Three days supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat food that keeps. Following our water supply being cut for a night we already have one gallon of water tucked away. I want another two to add to this. I do have water in the garden that could be used for flushing the loo. Food - I'm not really sure where to start here. I do have a picnic backpack that has seen little use and would be a good place to store an emergency supply of chocolate and bombay mix! We were snowed in a couple of years ago and by the time we walked to the local shops the shelves were empty so this is a serious thing to consider. I think that this could be a whole post on it's own.  
  • Copies of important documents like insurance policies and birth certificates. I think that the crib sheet covers a lot of this, other documents can be scanned. I'll have to consider what else I would want an emergency. Finance details? Mortgage? 
  • Paper, pencil, pen knife and whistle. Okay, I hadn't thought of any of these. But definitely handy. Do I really need a pen knife? I would like to have one but in our circumstances don't see an urgent requirement for this. A vegetable knife in the food kit perhaps. Whistle? 
  • Spare keys for your home and car. Why? Can I not just grab these on my way out? I'm not sure why I would need spares in a kit that I store at home anyway. 
  • Spare glasses or contact lenses. A sensible idea if I had any! As I can't afford to purchase a spare set this is going to have to be missed. Then again I may have some prescription sun-glasses tucked away. They are never used but would be better than nothing in an emergency. My eyesight is pretty poor!
  • If needed, baby and pet supplies. My boys are beyond babyhood now and we have no pets. But wet wipes could be useful regardless. 
A few other things that I would like to add
  • Matches and candles.
  • Bin bags - useful for many, many things.
  • Pack of cards. 

The Red Cross's emergency car kit is also worth a scan at. Whilst I've never seen the point in keeping de-icer in a car I do always have a map but it does deteriorate quickly when floating about, perhaps I should make it a little bag. Something I really ought to get is an emergency hammer and seat belt cutter... in fact it is so important that I've just ordered one. A small ash shovel could be tucked in too though it is unlikely to see any use but that's the whole point. Last winter J commuted to work with his boot packed with a change of clothes, shovel, blanket and lots of other bits and pieces. Better safe than sorry.

Need to do/get list:
Complete emergency contact sheet
Organise first aid kit and medicines.
Small first aid kit for the car.
2 gallons bottled water.
Copies of important documents.
Small stationary kit and paper pad.
Find wet wipes.
Put a blanket & bin bags in the car
Fruit and nut mix for car.
Make a map bag

Wish list:
Wind up lantern
Battery powered radio
Pen knife
Small shovel for car.

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