Your ‘COVID cabinet’ could be the start of your emergency kit

August 30, 2020 by PEMCO Insurance

So you stockpiled rice, beans, pasta, peanut butter and jugs of water as part of your stay-safe plan to avoid unnecessary travel during the pandemic. Are you now looking at that loaded pantry thinking you may never use half of that stuff? 

Not to worry!

Your COVID preparations could make the perfect foundation for that all-important emergency kit Northwesterners need for wildfire or earthquake readiness. In a PEMCO Poll, 77% of Northwesterners said they expect to experience a major earthquake, yet only 52% say they're somewhat prepared, and 39% say they've done nothing at all.

GettyImages-176990809.jpg At minimum, experts recommend that your emergency kit include three days' worth of food plus one gallon of water per person, per day, in addition to these 10 essentials: 

  1. Medicine. One week's supply of all your family's prescription and non-prescription medications. Include hygiene supplies, too.
  2. Cash. ATMs get drained quickly in emergencies and, without electricity, neither they nor your credit or debit cards will work.
  3. Flashlight. One for each family member, plus extra batteries. Make sure one is the type that you crank to recharge.
  4. Blankets or sleeping bags. Critical if you must sleep in your car or at an emergency shelter.
  5. Sturdy shoes, rain poncho and a change of clothes for each family member.
  6. Basic first-aid kit. Include bandages and antibiotic ointment, tweezers, pain reliever, antacid and antihistamine.
  7. Cell phone charger.
  8. Pet food, leashes and a carrier.
  9. Toilet paper and baby wipes.
  10. Photocopies of important papers like insurance policies, driver's licenses, birth certificates and contact numbers for relatives.

Store your supplies in a grab-and-go location like the hall coat closet or utility room so you could stuff them in your car if an evacuation order comes quickly (like during wildfire season). Just make sure you rotate foods and medicine periodically into your everyday supplies so they don't go stale or expire. 

Want to take your preparedness one step further? For added peace of mind, consider keeping some basic camping gear on hand in case you find you're without safe shelter (for example, your home is too damaged to stay in after an earthquake). That would include a tent, propane-fueled camp stove (mostly for boiling water), sturdy cooking pot, water purification filter, camp shovel (for burying waste), waterproof matches and a small saw or hatchet you could use to cut dry branches for emergency firewood.

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