We’ve all heard the old saying that most accidents happen in the home. That’s no surprise as we spend most of our time there, so it’s important to keep a properly-stocked emergency preparedness kit in the home. A small, inexpensive emergency kit will leave you ready when minor emergencies happen without needing to scrounge around medicine cabinets and utility closets.
We’ve identified three main types of home emergencies and what to keep on hand.
Emergency Illness Kits
An emergency illness can befall anyone at any time, so be sure to have a selection of emergency kit medicines available. These should include:
- Benadryl for minor allergic reactions such as to pets, bee stings, or pet dander
- Tylenol as a quick fever reducer, in addition to pain relief
- Imodium or Pepto-Bismol as an anti-diarrheal
- Hydrocortisone cream for rashes and insect bites
- Advil to reduce swelling
- A variety of specific-use medications such as aloe vera, calamine lotion, laxatives, and antacids
- A thermometer, preferably digital
- An EpiPen (by prescription) for severe allergic reactions, especially if children often visit your home
Additionally, you should keep a supply of important daily prescription medications in your emergency kit in case you need to grab and go with it fast.
And remember, in case of poisoning, do not induce vomiting. For this reason, we do not recommend keeping Ipecac or similar products in your emergency kit.
Accident Injury Kits
Sickness is only half of the emergency medicine equation in your home. Accidental injury from a slip or fall, wounds from sharp objects, or even an eye injury are very common, especially in the tight quarters of an apartment. Be sure to keep a good variety of trauma items in your emergency kit, including:
- Bandages and Band-Aids in multiple sizes, including finger, knee, elbow, and thumb
- Small metal splints
- Sterile gauze, medical tape, and scissors
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes to clean wounds and hydrogen peroxide to sterilize them
- Antibiotic ointment and hydrocortisone cream
- Tweezers for splinters and safety pins
- Eye wash and bath and eye dressings
- Cooling and heating packs
- Q-tips and cotton balls
- Latex gloves and hand sanitizer
- A CPR barrier
Additionally, you should keep a basic First Aid Manual with your kit, because you never know who needs to administer first aid and their level of knowledge. And everyone in your house should have basic CPR training.
Remember, your kit is for emergencies only. Don’t be tempted to grab it for everyday injuries. For that, keep your medicine cabinet and closet well-stocked as well.
Natural Disaster Preparedness Kits
Not all emergencies are medical. No matter where you live, natural and civil disasters can occur. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, extreme cold during power loss, gas leaks, or other emergencies could have you scrambling to either leave your home or take refuge inside it.
Here are some items you should keep at your ready for short or long-term preparedness:
- Bottled water or water purification tablets and non-perishable food with a can opener
- Cooking supplies such as a portable butane stove and utensils
- Blankets, extra clothing and comfortable shoes, and rain gear
- Toiletries, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, and toilet paper
- A basic portable tool kit including a multi-purpose tool and duct tape
- Plastic bags for trash and Ziploc bags for waterproof storage
- Flashlights and batteries as well as candles and matches or a lighter
- A transistor or hand-crank radio
- A cell phone charging cord and portable charger
- Money in small bills and an emergency credit card
- Copies of important documents (in waterproof container) such as an ID, insurance information, emergency contacts, and prescriptions
- Extra sets of house keys and car keys
Of course, this is in addition to the emergency preparedness kit medical supplies listed above. These items will keep you safe, warm, fed, and out of danger in a basement, in a shelter, or in your car.
Have A Plan
Be sure to keep your emergency kits in an easily accessible and safe place that you can easily remember under stress, and away from children. And don’t forget to have a family plan of where to meet in an emergency, how to contact each other, and an escape plan.
Please note: Administering any emergency medical procedure or relief is not a substitute for professional help. In an emergency, be sure to call 9-1-1 and have them walk you through exactly what should be done