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Emergency essentials: Keep a bug out bag ready

Emergency essentials kits can help you respond to natural disasters or other serious situations. Prepare for the unexpected by putting together a bug out bag of items that could be useful if you needed to evacuate your home. Pack enough to last 24 to 48 hours, and keep your emergency essentials handy. Make sure your family members know where to find the kit. Consider keeping one in your car as well.

A basic emergency essentials kit includes:

  • Small, waterproof flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
  • Waterproof matches
  • Water, 1 gallon a person a day
  • Food that won't spoil, including baby food, if needed
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Pet food and supplies, such as a leash, if needed
  • Small notepad and waterproof writing instrument
  • Blanket
  • Cellphone with solar charger
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Whistle
  • First-aid kit
  • Dust mask
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape for improvised shelter
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Medicine, a week's supply
  • Extra medical supplies or equipment, as needed
  • Soap, toothbrush and other personal care items
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Emergency health information for you and your family
  • Medical consent forms for each family member
  • Phone numbers for professional emergency contacts, such as your family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers, and the regional poison control center
  • Phone numbers for a personal emergency contact, such as a friend or a family member who you've asked to serve in this role
  • Copy of insurance cards
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Maps of the area
  • An extra set of car keys and house keys

Last updated: July 7th, 2015

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