Whether you live in an area prone to tornadoes, floods, blizzards or hurricanes, you should have an emergency kit close at hand in case an bad situation arises. Likely, you know to fill your kit with batteries, a portable radio and bottled water. This is a great start, but it misses some key supplies, some of which you’ll never find at the local home improvement store.
Consider adding the following seven items to your emergency kit. They won’t take up much space, and in a pinch, you’ll be glad you were prepared.
Names, serial numbers and instructions for medical equipment (such as portable compressors and mobility devices). This will help identify items that are lost and help with their speedy replacement. It’s also a good idea to bring copies of information about any medical implants you’ve received. Should you require hospitalization (or even travel), you’ll be glad you’ve for the documentation.
Photos of you with your pets, along with license numbers or other identifying information. If your pet is lost or you become separated, you’ll have these records to prove you and your pooch belong together. Have a recent copy of their medical records handy as well. In case your pet needs boarding or treatment, you’ll be required to have this information with you.
Medication for everyone in your family – including prescription numbers. It’s easy enough to refill a prescription at the local pharmacy where they know you, and you’ve got a bottle with the information handy. In an emergency, however, you’ll want all of that information at your fingertips. Write your prescription numbers and your pharmacy’s phone number and address on a note card, and seal it in a waterproof bag. Throw in a business card for your primary physician, and you’re set.
Power for your supplies. If your supplies – particularly medical equipment – require power to operate, be prepared with extra batteries. If it’s possible, keep manually operated backups (such as a wheelchair) available for use in a pinch.
Extra keys. Make copies of all of your important keys and keep them with your backup supplies … and keep all of it in a secure yet easy-to-reach location. It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of your house key with a trusted friend or family member in case of emergency.
Insurance information. You probably keep an insurance card in your wallet. If you lost your wallet, however, would you be able to contact your insurance carrier with questions on your health or auto insurance policies? Do you know your coverage and co-payment information? Keep a copy of this information safe and handy.
Contact information… to give to your friends and family. In an emergency, one of the worst things to deal with is uncertainty. Give your family and friends a way to get in touch with you – and with one another – to exchange information during a crisis. Consider which individuals you’d list as your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your cellphone and let them know in advance.
No one’s ever completely prepared for an emergency situation, but if you invest a little bit of time and effort ahead of time, you’ll be ready with an emergency kit that gives you a head start on getting back on your feet as soon as possible.