Preparing a Home Emergency Kit for Winter
The weather is cooling down in the DMV area. While we are lucky to experience fairly mild winter temperatures, the colder months can often bring unpredictable weather. Power outages and loss of heat are of particular concern during this time of year as the temperature dips below freezing. Natural weather patterns can give us cause to panic, but it’s important to remain calm and to have a plan in place to cope with these situations.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your family in an emergency is to be prepared. While it is recommended that each household maintain an emergency kit year-round, it can be particularly crucial during the colder winter months.
Our team at Smart Home Improvement has compiled a list of essentials to keep stored in your winter emergency kit this year. Whether you are stuck without power or need to evacuate your home, this list has you covered.
The most important item to have on hand is water. If a problem occurs with your water source, you will need to use bottled water for both drinking, washing and cooking. The recommended amount of drinking water per person is 2 litres per day. For cooking and washing purposes, we recommend that each household also store a minimum of 2 litres per person per day.
Non-perishable food items should be stored in your emergency kit. In the event of a power outage, protein bars, dried fruits and canned foods that require little to no preparation are preferred. Don’t forget to change your emergency foods each year to avoid being left with expired products.
First Aid Kit
A complete first aid kit is essential to any emergency kit. Make sure you keep this separate from your household first aid supplies in order to ensure it remains fully stocked at all times.
Should your home lose power, flashlights will be crucial. Flashlights are often overlooked nowadays, with everyone carrying one around within their smartphones. However, if left without power you will certainly want to conserve your phone’s charge as much as possible. It is advisable to have one flashlight per person, plus extra batteries for each.
It’s also a good idea to store candles and matches with your flashlights as a backup.
Don’t leave yourself scrambling in the dark looking for keys. Keep an extra set of house and car keys in your emergency kit so you can access them immediately if needed (and don’t forget to label them!).
A crank or battery-powered radio will help keep you informed as to what is going on in your area.
Basic hygiene items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other essentials should be stored in your emergency kit.
A small toolbox with basic tools such as a hammer, screwdriver and pocket knife may come in handy when you least expect it. Make sure to add scissors to your toolbox as well.
The most important thing to remember when preparing and storing your emergency kit is that it needs to be accessible. Each adult member of the household (and children where reasonable) should know where to find it and should be able to reach it.
It is also crucial to check your emergency kit frequently for anything that may need to be replaced or replenished. As tempting as it may be to use things from your emergency kit when you have run out of household supplies, limit yourself to using the items in emergencies only.
Lastly, when storing your items in your emergency kit, make sure all items are easily accessible. Many items come in thick packaging that can be difficult to open, especially if under stress. Remove all items from their packaging and store them appropriately.
We hope this list of essential items is helpful in creating the emergency kit for your household. Remember, these are general items that everyone needs and don’t take into account your particular requirements. Think of the specific needs of your family members (such as medications or infant formula) and make sure to add these to your kit.