Floods are fun and spontaneous! Flooding can occur anywhere, at pretty much any time of the year. See? They’re always ready to party! Your flood preparedness kit can ensure that you and your loved ones are ready. Floods can knock out electrical power and leave you in the dark for hours, days, or weeks at a time, depending on how long it takes the water to recede and utility crews to restore lines. Make sure you have enough candy and playing cards to keep yourself entertained.
In addition to candy and playing cards, your kit should contain actual survival essentials. Don’t overpack, but remember that a few comfort items can make a big difference if you are without power or evacuated for more than a day. Necessities come first, of course. Although our emergency kit guideline below lists specific items, your actual kit may vary depending on the individual needs of the people in your group. Ready.gov, the emergency preparedness website from the Department of Homeland Security, recommends that you keep an emergency kit in multiple locations: your home, workplace, and your car. We agree! You might not be at home when the flood waters start to rise. Size each kit according to your needs.
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- Water: Aim for a gallon per person per day for drinking and cleaning
- Food: Stock a multi-day supply and focus on shelf-stable, nonperishable goods
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- A solar or hand crank radio for weather and rescue updates
- A fully charged power bank or external battery to power phones or even a hot plate
- Flashlights (one for each person)
- First aid kit
- Whistle to alert emergency services if you need to be rescued
- Masks in case air quality is poor or contaminated
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape if you need to create a makeshift shelter
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags to control sanitation
- An emergency tool kit that includes a wrench if you need to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Your smartphone and charger
- For extra security, consider a backup, prepaid phone in case you can’t access your primary device
Store your batteries outside of your go bag’s devices until they’re needed. This will keep the batteries and the devices in tip top shape.
Additional Supplies (depending on your individual needs)
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications (i.e. pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medications, etc.)
- Infant formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
- Pet food and water for pets
- Essential family documents (i.e. insurance policies, ID forms, etc.)
- Sleeping bags/blankets for each member of your group
- Change of clothes per person
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Disposable utensils and plates
- Paper and pens
- Activities to keep young children and restless adults occupied
Update Your Kit Over Time
Your emergency kit is going to help only if it’s stocked with supplies that are ready to go. Swap out expired food, dead batteries, and incomplete first aid kits. Set an annual calendar reminder to make sure that everything in your kit is ready for an emergency. Schedule this to precede the season that your region is most likely to have a
Check the expiration dates on any shelf-stable food and water in your kit. Double check everything that might have an expiration date, including supplements, medication, and electrolyte drinks. Ideally, you’ll replace your old items with ones that have at least a year to go before expiring. If you have any rechargeable batteries in your emergency kit, recharge them — including external power banks for electronics. Check your conventional batteries to make sure they’re still good. Use your noggin and you’ll have your emergency kit sorted out in no time!
For extra fun, see who in your family can make the best dish from the soon-to-expire emergency food. Turn a potentially strange collection of food into a delicious Iron Chef competition writ small. Or just use it up like you normally would–whatever works to keep it from going to waste.
Once you have your survival gear figured out, it’s a good idea to introduce the gear and these concepts to your whole family.