Make a List and Check it Twice

As 2014 comes to a close, make the choice to be prepared in the new year.  It's like cleaning out the garage- no one really wants to do it, but once it's done, you'll feel better.  Preparing for disasters and emergencies can seem like a daunting effort, but start with a few easy steps.

Begin by setting a goal to build or update an emergency supply kit.  If a large disaster were to happen, you and your family may have to fend for yourselves for several days.  Having some basic supplies on hand will help you be self-sufficient.  Use this list as a starting point, and ammend it to fit your specific needs:

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After checking through the list, look around your home for items you may already have.  Spare flashlights?  Some dry soup mix?  Toss them into an old backpack or rubbermaid bin.  You don't need to buy brand new items for your kit.  Go to the thrift store and get extra blankets and sweaters.  Additional ways to save money on your kit:

  • Add to your kit in increments, rather than all at once.  Each month, add one thing to your kit.  When you buy cans of soup, grab an extra one for the kit.  Do the same with toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
  • Look for sales on non-perishable foods and stock up.  Dry soup mixes and rice will last a long time if stored in a cool, dry area.
  • Rather than buying an expensive first aid kit, purchase items individually.  Additionally, the generic brands of aspirin, band-aids, and rubbing alcohol are typically cheaper than namebrand.
  • Consider getting a flashlight and radio that don't require batteries.  They may be more expensive up-front, but you'll save a lot by not buying batteries.
  • Keep a bottle of generic bleach, rather than expensive disinfectancts.  You can even disinfect water with just a few drops of bleach.
  • Get a couple puzzles and board games from garage sales and keep them in your kit.  It will keep you entertained if the power is out.

Your emergency kit doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to have the essentials.  Add to it if you have special needs.  Are you dependent on certain medical equipment?  Do you have pets?  Do you care for elderly parents?  Making these preparations will help you feel ready for anything in 2015.  For more information, visit www.ready.gov

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