5 customized emergency kits to overcome any disaster

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    Emergency kit for power outages

    When the power goes out, the immediate concerns are food and safety. (More about how to deal with power outages.) If the power outage lasts two hours or less, don’t worry about losing perishables; in a closed refrigerator, the products will be cold for about four hours. Here are some helpful things to have on hand:

    • Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers to preserve food if it is packed with ice.
    • Rapid response digital thermometers check the internal temperature of foods to make sure they stay cool enough to eat.
    • Generators especially important if you live with someone who depends on electrical equipment for life support. (Read our list of 9 things to know if you have a backup generator.)
    • Flashlights ensure safety by guiding you through the dark house and preventing candle fires.

    Emergency kits for winter storms

    During a severe winter storm, staying warm and safe is a priority. Make sure you have the following security features:

    • Sand, rock salt or loose cat litter make walkways and steps less slippery.
    • Warm coats, gloves, mittens, hats, boots, extra blankets and warm clothing necessary for all family members.
    • Fireplaces or stoves burning wood or coal provide the necessary alternative heat. Pro tip: No matter what heat source you use, keep your smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher in the same room as they are. Read more in our a guide to safe home heating.

    Hurricane and flood emergency kits

    Hurricanes and floods often mean evacuation. Keep these extra items on hand to be ready to hit the road if needed:

    • Tools and materials to keep your home safe.
    • Blanket(s), extra clothing, hats, sturdy shoes and rain gear will help protect your family from extreme weather conditions.
    • Insect repellent and sunscreen may come in handy if you can’t find shelter.
    • Map(s) of the area help you get out of that area, especially if cell service isn’t available.
    • An extra set of car keys and house keys can be used if one kit is lost in an evacuation or if you and other family members are separated.
    • Camera for photos of the damage.

    If you’re safe enough to see out the storm, but watch for a hurricane or flash flood, here’s how to prepare.

    • Fill the plastic bottles you have clean drinking water close at hand. Learn more about how to store drinking water during a natural disaster.
    • Fill tubs and sinks with water to keep your household running. Never drink or bathe young children in such stagnant water, because lead can leach from the glaze in the baths and sink into the water they hold. Use this water to wash the floor, wash clothes and flush the toilet.
    • Fill the car with gasin case you need to evacuate later.
    • Make sure your food and water are safe when there is a flood. Flood water can be contaminated with waste or other contaminants that lead to disease. Throw away food and drink, and anything you use for food or drink that has come into floodwater (even if it’s just a little), including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils, and baby bottle nipples. The Red Cross says, “When in doubt, throw it away!”

    Emergency preparedness for tornadoes

    A tornado can form quickly. While your basic emergency kit covers your basic needs, it’s also important to take the following important steps in advance to stay protected:

    • Reinforce existing garage doors to increase wind resistance, in particular, double-width garage doors.
    • Decide on a safe place in your home where everyone knows they are meeting when tornado watches or warnings are issued. Basements are the best place to hide. Your next safest option is the lowest sound design in a hallway or windowless area. According to the American Red Cross, mobile homes are never safe during a tornado. It is best to get to a solid shelter immediately.
    • Always wear a seat belt if you need to drive during a tornado and to safety.

    Emergency kit for forest fires

    In fire-prone areas, experts recommend storing supplies at home for up to two weeks. However, if you must evacuate, it is recommended to have three days’ supply – so make sure it’s portable in case the authorities say you need to move now. In addition to your basic kits, here are some tips for long-term wildfire preparation:

    • Portable air purifiers it works best with continuous operation with doors and windows closed.
    • Water sources outside your homesuch as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool, should be identified and maintained so that they can be easily accessed when needed to fight the flames.
    • Collect the tools such as a rake, axe, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and spade that you can use as firefighting tools before the emergency services arrive.
    • Clean your roof and gutters regularly. Dry, loose debris can cause problems if sparks fly. See what else can happen if you don’t clean your gutters.
    • Hold a long garden hose which can reach all areas of your home and other structures on the grounds.
    • Install outdoor outlets on at least two sides of your house and next to other structures on the property. Make sure that their external water outlets are frost-proof. Additionally, you can install outlets 50 feet away from your home for more electrical availability.
    • Clearly state your house number or the address at which fire engines must enter your property.

    Printable Disaster Preparedness Checklist

    Want a handy printout? Check out these PDF checklists from the American Red Cross for the following disasters: power outages, winter storms, hurricanes, floods, tornado and forest fires.

    I look after you

    Emergencies can be stressful, but you can feel confident knowing you’re prepared with the right tools. If you’re from ERIE, you can rest easy knowing your local agent is here to lend a little kindness even on your toughest day.

    For more than 95 years, we have been committed to providing claims services that come from real people, with empathy, in real time. Depending on the size of the storm or the weather, ERIE will deploy our Disaster team to the scene to help serve our customers who have claims. A helping hand and friendly face is just a phone call away (or a walk to the CAT van).

    Learn more about homeowners insurance or car insurance by ERIE and experience the difference for yourself.

    This is reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 48% of Americans do not have essential first aid kits.

    Creating a basic emergency kit for evacuating or staying at home will help keep your family safe. (Having the right homeowners insurance helps give you peace of mind, too.)

    You probably already know the basics 31 items that should be in every home first aid kit. But when it comes to survival kits, one size does not fit all. Here are five different ways to personalize yours to be ready for any weather.

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