Natural disasters are a real threat, but preparing an emergency kit can help keep your family safe. If you don’t already have all the supplies you’ll need in the event of an emergency, start planning now. Natural disasters could put your home security system out of commission and prevent you from living a normal life for a little while. Here are all the things you’ll need in your home emergency and evacuation kits:

Food and drink 

Pack a bag with a gallon of water per day per person in your family. You’ll need three-days worth of water in the event of an evacuation and two-weeks worth if you stay home. When the power goes out, you may not have access to clean drinking water, which is why packing some now is important.

Gather nonperishable food items that will last your family for the same length of time as the water. Canned goods full of carbohydrates and protein are the best choice, as they are more substantial than other food products. Keep a hand-powered can opener in your emergency kit so that you can open the food if you need it. Be careful when cooking food – using a fireplace to cook may release carbon monoxide into the air. Be sure your carbon monoxide detector has working batteries so that you’ll be warned if too much of the gas is present in your home.

Appliances

You’ll need a flashlight and a hand-crank or battery-powered radio (preferably a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio). The radio will help you stay up to date on a community disaster situation, letting you know when it’s safe to go outside and where help is located.

Pack extra batteries to sustain your flashlights and radios. You may also want to consider bringing phone chargers. Though you might not have access to electricity, it’s better to have the charger and not need it than need it and not have it.

Furthermore, replace the batteries on your smoke detector. As with a carbon monoxide detector, it might come in handy during a power outage. Many families try using improper cooking methods when the power goes out, resulting in a fire.

First aid

Include a first aid kit in your emergency pack. In fact, it’s best to have one for your house and one for an evacuation. In addition to having all the necessary medical supplies, the kit should contain a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses such as family contact information.

Buy an emergency blanket to add to your kit. These products look metallic and reflect about 90 percent of your body’s heat back at you. The blanket is especially important in cold weather emergency situations.

Medications

Pack a seven-day supply of your family’s medication in your emergency kit and don’t forget about inhalers or EpiPens. You may also consider getting basic over-the-counter drugs.

Miscellaneous

In addition to the major categories of emergency kit necessities, you should also pack the following items:

  • A detailed and up-to-date map of your area
  • Extra cash
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Multi-functional tools (such as Swiss army knives)
  • Personal documents such as birth certificates, medical information, proof of residency for your home, passports, insurance policy, and more (keep in a fire-proof box)
  • Pet supplies (food, collar, bowls, etc.)
  • Games for kids

Best practices

In the event of an emergency, keep your family together and exercise precaution. For example, only use grills and propane stoves outside when the power is out. This prevents carbon monoxide from building in the house. Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors regularly to be sure they work and have battery power.

Practice an emergency evacuation plan with your family. Everyone should know where to go should a fire or natural disaster occur. Designate a meeting spot in case you get separated.