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Are you prepared for an emergency?

It's not exactly something we like to think about, but emergencies can and do happen. In the event that disaster strikes, how prepared are you? The Red Cross recommends that you keep a disaster preparedness kit in your home with enough supplies to meet your family's needs for at least 72 hours. Chances are good that you won't need it, but as the old adage goes, "it's better to be safe than sorry". The following checklist will help you assemble an effective emergency kit:

Basic Safety Equipment

  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Radio with spare batteries or crank radio
  • Emergency candles and waterproof matches
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife

Food and Water Supplies

  • Three day supply of bottled water (4 litres per person/day)
  • Purification tablets
  • Three day supply of non-perishable food (per person)
  • Manual can opener
  • Disposable plates, cutlery, cups

Ready-to-Go Bag

  • One change of clothes for each person
  • Essential items for infants, or those with special needs
  • Extra keys for the car or building and some cash
  • Personal medication and prescriptions for medication/eyeglasses
  • Whistle

Personal Hygiene Kit

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and hairbrush
  • Sanitary napkins and toilet paper
  • Towel and facecloth (per person)

Other Essential Items

  • Blankets for each person
  • Photocopies of personal documents – including insurance policy
  • Activity books and/or playing cards
  • Three-day supply of food and water for pets
Place these items in a waterproof container. Store your disaster safety kit in a convenient place so it's easily accessible if disaster strikes. Check your kit every six months to ensure that it meets your changing needs, the water and food supply are fresh, and batteries are in working order. Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing medications. Remember, disasters can strike at anytime. Be prepared!

Credit: ICLR (institute for catastrophic loss reduction)
A printable emergency kit checklist from the Red Cross is available here:
Plus, check out the handy Be Ready app from Red Cross, available for download on iOS and Android: