Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and wildfires can happen anytime. Sometimes disasters can happen in only a small town, while others will impact several states. Power outages, property damages and water shutoffs are common during natural disasters, so having a survival kit with nonperishable food, water, first aid supplies is essential No matter where you live, every family should have some kind of home survival kit, just in case.

First Aid Supplies

Accidents can happen in daily life, so having a first aid kit in your home is a good idea in general. In a natural disaster, injuries are more common, and so the ability to treat these injuries becomes even more important. Various sized bandages and sterile pads are essential, as is isopropyl alcohol, bacitracin, and antibiotic cream. Materials to dress a wound are crucial additions to your first aid kit, as well as a splint to treat sprains or broken bones. Pain relievers like Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are important additions, along with an antihistamine. Don’t forget to add some sunscreen and bug spray, depending on the climate. Be sure to include tools like scissors and tweezers as well.

Every year or so, check on the condition and expiration dates of your first aid supplies. Be sure to replace any item that has expired or is worn out. Some of these first aid supplies are often overlooked, and first responders such as medical personnel could be backed up or unavailable entirely, depending to the severity of the disaster. This is why having first aid supplies is step one for your home survival kit.

Stock Up on Nonperishable Food

Having enough food for everyone in your house to last up to three days is highly important. Store food that doesn’t require much preparation - such as dry cereal, oats, and canned goods. Long-lasting, high-protein food that provides energy like peanut butter and canned tuna or salmon is a good choice. If you are unable to cook your food due to a power outage, learning how to cook on a fire or an outdoor grill is an extremely useful skill. Don’t forget food essentials like utensils, pots and pans, manual can openers, hot pads, and so on.

If you are really interested in having a long lasting store of food, learning how to pickle, and/ or can your own food is a valuable skill as well. Pickling is a food preservation method that uses either the process of fermentation or vinegar brine. Before the days of refrigeration, people would pickle and ferment their fruits, veggies and other foods so they would last through the winter until the next growing season.

When most people think of a pickle they are essentially thinking of a pickled cucumber. However, you can pickle just about anything. Veggies like onions, peppers, peas and green beans and beets are great choices for pickling. Pitted fruits like peaches and plums also turn out nicely when pickled. Pickling food will change its texture and flavor, tending to be crunchier, and taste more salty and acidic. Experimenting with pickling is recommended, so you can figure out which pickled foods you like the best, then stock up on them every 5 or 6 months or so. If you keep your pickled foods in jars, you should refrigerate them. However, boiling the food you’re pickling then vacuum sealing jars and cans of some pickled foods can last for a few years.

Don’t Forget about the Standard Everyday Items and Supplies

Any proper survival kit should include everyday supplies that keep us safe and increase our comfort level. The two items that most people remember are flashlights and battery operated radios. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh replacement batteries in your home survival kit. It can be difficult to get the attention of emergency responders during a natural disaster, so a whistle is an important addition to your survival kit. Items that can protect you from the elements are also crucial additions, such as ponchos, large durable tarps, blankets, and mouth protectors. Be sure to include matches or lighters, garbage bags and extra clothing as well. If you are out of power and don’t own a vehicle or a car charger for your mobile device, including a disposable camera or an old digital camera you no longer use is a good idea. This way you can document any property damage that might occur during the disaster.

Practice for Emergency Scenarios

Perhaps the most overlooked addition to a good survival kit is practicing your emergency scenario and memorizing your escape route. Have your family practice what they would do and follow your escape route. Have as many additional routes as possible, and include safety items like ladders to climb out of second story windows if a staircase is unusable. It’s no different than a fire drill at a school, it’s important that everyone knows what to do and where to go.

Disasters are Unpredictable

It’s nearly impossible to predict when a disaster will strike, but following these steps to create your home survival kit can help keep you safe and comfortable. If you are in need of emergency supplies or food and water rations, you can find all of these high quality items right here at More Prepared.