June is Safety Month, something that I think couldn’t come at a better time. The summer is a great time to create or revamp safety plans and go over them with our kids. Studies show that children are more likely to stay calm and act appropriately when they have had a chance to rehearse what they should do during an emergency. Today I’m partnering with Rayovac to talk about safety at home and how you can keep your family involved – and prepared – all year round with a disaster emergency kit!
One activity that my kids really love to help with is packing an emergency disaster kit. They love to check off the items on our list as they go into the bag, and it gives us a chance to talk about why we might need these items in a way that’s not-so-scary. We talk about packing flashlights so that we can use them to play board games and camp out in the living room, we test out whistles and see how silly we look wearing dust masks. I love using colorful printables with the kids – like the Emergency Kit Checklist and Maintenance Checklist below – because it gives them a sense of responsibility while still being fun. And by keeping the kids involved in the planning process you’ll help them feel more confident and secure if the time ever comes to use your emergency disaster kit.
Ready to pack? Here’s what you should have in your emergency disaster kit:
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- Water – Plan on a gallon of water per person, per day. Include any pets in this count as well. There are different options for storing water. You can purchase sterilized water online. It comes in a pouch with a shelf life of about five years. The easiest method is to use bottled water, but you will have to replace the bottles yearly.
- Three day supply of non-perishable food for your family. You want to aim for nutritious food over snacks and candy. That can get tricky when kids are involved, especially if they are picky eaters. We pack a variety of food bars like granola, nut or fruit bars. They are fairly small, easy to carry and you can pack a number of different flavors. Try to avoid any bar with too much sugar and look instead for bars that have a variety of seeds and nuts that will provide sustainable energy for your family.
- A Can Opener for opening canned foods
- Rayovac indestructible flashlight – This flashlight is water resistent to IPX 4, drop tested up to 30 feet and has a light beam of 160 meters. That, along with its compact size, makes it an ideal choice for our kit.
- Battery Powered Radio – This will be important for getting weather and safety updates.
- Rayovac Fusion Batteries – extra batteries will keep flashlights and radios running when you need them. Rayovac Fusion batteries are the only batteries we use in our emergency disaster kit because they are long lasting high performance batteries that have a 12 year power guarantee in storage, so you can count on them to be ready when you are. Rayovac High Energy batteries, another line of Rayovac’s battery offerings, are also long lasting in every day use items (think flashlights and remote controls) and have a 10 year power guarantee in storage. We tend to “store” the high energy batteries around out house for the kids favorite toys and video game controllers as well!
- First Aid Kit – It’s important to choose a kit designed for the number of people in your family.
- Important family documents – birth certificates, passports and bank documents that you may need or that would be difficult to replace if lost.
- Diapers, wipes and formula if you have an infant in your family
- Pet food for any pets
- Any prescription medication your family needs, as well as over the counter medication like Tylenol.
- Rayovac Portable Cell Phone Charger – Light and compact this charger holds enough power to recharge a smartphone three times. Once charged the Rayovac Portable Charger holds a charge for up to six months, making it perfect for a disaster emergency kit. Remember to mark your calendar for six months, remove the charger from your kit and give it a fresh charge to keep it ready. I actually keep one in my car as well so that I always have a back up charge in case my battery were to die or the kids and I were to get lost on one of our weekly hiking trips.
- A bag that fits all of your supplies and is comfortable to carry. Waterproof bags to store documents and electronics in can also be useful.
Once packed, store your emergency disaster kit somewhere safe and easily accessible – think hallway closet or near the garage door. Your kit shouldn’t need any attention for at least the next year. Once a year you should go through your emergency disaster kit and replace any expired items and just generally make sure everything is in good condition. We like to choose a time that’s easy to remember, like right before the holidays or at the beginning of summer vacation. Put a yearly reminder in your phone and stick to it! Check dates on all food, batteries and medication and replace water yearly if you are using bottled water (if you have sterilized water check the expiration date on that as well).
Ready to get the kids involved? Grab these colorful printables for packing and maintaining a disaster emergency kit! Click on the image to open a printable PDF. If you laminate the sheets you can store them to use year after year!
Of course – one of the best ways to be prepared is to know when something wrong. When you take time to check your emergency disaster kit, make sure you take the time to service your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well. Additionally, the assistance of a company like Expert Plumbing could come in handy when it comes to testing for Carbon Monoxide. It is always best to be safe than sorry.
Download this Smoke Detector 101 Info Graph from Rayovac and learn how to make your home safer today.
Is there anything unique you like to have in your disaster emergency kit? Let me know what it is in the comments!