The 5 Most Overlooked Disaster Kit Items

02I14765 [Converted]You’ve got your water, traveler’s checks or cash, canned food (don’t forget the manual can opener!), first aid kit and warm clothes. So you’re good to go in case emergency strikes, right? Well, maybe -- but there are some often-fogotten items that disaster preparedness professionals say can make a big difference after a fire or natural disaster.


If your home is damaged in the crisis, the very documents needed to get your life back on track could be among the casualties. Prevent this headache by keeping photocopies in your “bug out” kit. These include home, vehicle and medical insurance cards and other information, lease agreements or mortgage deeds, bank statements, recent pay stubs and vehicle registration. Personal documentation is also crucial. Keep photocopies of your social security cards, birth certificates, marriage licenses and driver’s licenses. If you have such paperwork as military ID, passport or green card information, you’ll want to preserve copies of those as well.


A pill organizer filled with a week’s worth of prescription medication for every family member is invaluable, but make sure to replace this medication as it reaches its expiration date. In addition, notations of these medications and your doctor’s contact information is crucial for emergency refills. Whenever practical, consider including a spare pair of prescription eyeglasses in your emergency kit as well.


A simple bottle of chlorine bleach is a surprisingly versatile tool in your emergency kit. Tie a medicine dropper to the neck or handle of the bleach bottle. In a situation in which the purity of available water is uncertain, 16 drops of bleach per 1 gallon of water will render it safe for use. And when you need to disinfect your temporary living quarters, your damaged house, or soiled objects, use about 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

Special Needs

Keep in mind your family’s unique situations when planning your emergency kit. If you expect to have infants in your group, include formula and diaper supplies. Non-perishable pet food is also important for families with dogs, cats, birds or other animal companions. Seniors in the family might need such extras as denture adhesive and cleaners, dietary supplements and snap-together canes. Teen girls and adult women will appreciate having extra feminine hygiene products in the kit.


Several days without electricity and the usual comforts of home will make you wish you’d packed a goody bag of items to pass the time. Good choices are books for all ages, from toddler to adult. Puzzles, coloring books and crayons, board games and Mad Lib-type activities are all “unplugged” entertainment options to pull out when frayed nerves and boredom threaten to overwhelm your family. Where space is an issue, pack a small sack stuffed with games and activities geared to travelers, including the classic non-electronic distractions -- a simple deck of cards.
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