Emergency Essentials : How to Be Prepared for an Emergency 

 Originally Written: October 29, 2012

By  Hanna Trafford

I am sure this is no news for you anymore –Hurricane Sandy is expected to impact the Eastern coasts of the United States, parts of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes over the next few days.

This is picture of Hurricane Sandy taken from space around 10 am this morning

Sandy is huge – covering over 1000 miles – and the impacts of heavy rainfall, high winds and possibly snow will be likely experienced well away from the centre of the storm. These conditions could lead to downed trees and power lines, power outages and flooding.

Emergency Kit Essentials

Families should be prepared to sustain themselves for at least 72 hours in case of power outages or forced evacuation. Here is a list of recommended items – they should be stored in a sturdy, easy to carry containers. That means suitcases, containers with wheels or backpacks:

Water: You should have 2 litres of drinking water and 2 litres of water for washing per person, per day and keep a 72 hour supply for your family and your pets.

Food: Prepare at least 72 hour supply of non-perishable food for each person – and remember the can opener!

Flashlight: Crank or battery operated – and make sure you have extra batteries on hand just in case.

Radio: Crank or battery operated – with extra batteries. A shortwave and emergency radio is also a good thing to have on hand.

Keys: Keep with you extra keys for your house and your car. You never know what you may need.

Advanced Survival Tips

Now that you’ve got the basics covered you might want to consider a few additional things to make your life liveable in the event of an emergency that lasts more than a few hours. It’s not only about survival, it’s also about comfort.

BioLite Stove

The benefit of the BioLite stove is two fold. Firstly, you can heat and cook using twigs, leaves or anything else you find although I would suggest using it outdoors or in a well ventilated area it can provide you with heat to boil water.

The second and amazing advantage of the BioLite is it’s ability to charge devices indefinitely allowing you charge phones, lights, batteries or any other device that is capable of being charged via a USB port.

Water Purification System

Having the ability to purify water isn’t only handy, it’s effectively limitless for the duration of the emergency allowing you to filter water from various sources including rain water without need to worry about running out. While this could easily go south on you depending upon the nature and severity of the emergency having a camp style purification system on hand will certainly ensure you aren’t stuck without fresh, clean water.

Conserve Smart Phone Power!

Since we are iPhone users (Android people please calm down) you can conserve quite a bit of iPhone power by doing the following: Turn off your “Location Services” under privacy and turn down the brightness a bit to save power. Lastly set your Mail settings to “Pull” as you don’t want to waste power checking for email every X seconds or minutes, turn off “LTE”.

If the emergency goes on for a long time (or power is out for an extended period) turn on “Airplane Mode” then just activate your wireless when you need to text or call.If you’ve got an Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone there are similar settings which will help to conserve your battery life.

First Aid Kit

  • Card with emergency phone numbers – including  your family doctor, relatives , friends and neighbors (home and work numbers)
  • Sterile gauze pads – assorted sizes
  • Adhesive tape in assorted sizes
  • Roller and triangular bandages
  • Scissors, tweezers, safety pins
  • Instant ice packs
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • Antiseptic soap or wash
  • Pencil and pad
  • Emergency blanket
  • Eye patches
  • Thermometer
  • First Aid manual

Cash – in small bills and change. Don’t reply upon credit cards or debit cards during any emergency situation. As the power goes, so to goes the credit.

Special needs items – medications, baby formula and diapers, any equipment needed for people with disabilities, etc.

Shoe and Clothing: Walking shoes, rain gear and change of clothing

Blankets or sleeping bags. Keep a good supply on hand and also put a few into garbage bags in case of a flood, there is nothing worse than watching your warm clothes and blankets soak up with water.

Necessities: Toilet paper and other personal supplies – like and extra pair of glasses.

Notebook with important family information – list of any medical conditions, severe allergies, pacemakers and other critical information.

Documents: Photocopies of all important identification for you and your family, including passports, health card numbers, driver’s licenses, etc.

Note: It is important that you place emergency supplies into your car as well – include:

  • Battery powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries
  • Emergency blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Bottled water and high-energy foods
  • Maps. Hard copy maps in large ziplock bags.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit and manual
  • A shovel, flares and matches
  • Candle in a “survival” can – deep enough so that the candle can burn for several hours
  • Tire repair supplies


Hope you will adopt that good old motto – and “Be Prepared”. Do you have anything else to add to the list above? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts and most importantly your additions!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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