The storm that hit Western North Carolina recently made me revisit my emergency preparedness pack. I put it together myself, try to do it as naturally as possible, and am happy to share it with you now!
Contents of My Emergency Kit
- Start with a few milk crates or a plastic storage tote such as an 18 gallon size.
- Place a layer of newspaper in the bottom. It can act as insulation and fire starter if needed.
- Add a jar of baking mix. See my article on homemade baking mix here. This can be used to make pancakes, breads, muffins, and more. If you have no electricity, it can be adapted to use over a fire.
- Add some dry soup and stew mixes. These camping mix recipes can be used or adapted for this purpose.
- Don’t forget a few gallons of drinking water. Be sure to change them every three months or less.
- Rosemary essential oil is great to have on hand. It will treat cuts and scrapes and can be used (very diluted) in cooking.
- A small jar of olive oil is nice to have too. It can be used for cooking, moisturizing and diluting rosemary oil.
- Heavy duty aluminum foil can be used for cooking and storing coals. I don’t normally use foil, but as a quick portable thing, it’s handy.
- Charcoal. I always store a few handfuls of charcoal in foil (that can be used to place the charcoal in to burn) in case the electricity goes out. Be sure to ONLY burn charcoal outside. Some charcoal gives off carbon monoxide fumes. (Find natural charcoal here.)
- A few cans of soup and vegetables. (Best if canned by you!) They keep for a long time.
- Some zip top bags, both quart and gallon size, and trash bags are handy. I keep a few plastic bags from the grocery store for trash bags. I wrap any jars in them so they don’t clank against each other and then use them for trash later.
- Rope and zip ties, because you never know when you’ll need either.
- A sauce pan without a non-stick surface. If non-stick surfaces are overheated, they can give off toxic fumes.
- A roll of paper towels (or several clean towels/rags) and some toilet paper.
- A pair or two of gloves.
- A can opener or multi-tool like this.
- Emergency crank radio with weather alerts, like this one.
- A lighter and some waterproof matches. You can make your own by dipping wooden matches in melted wax for a second. When cool, store in an old pill bottle to keep dry. (You can also purchase them here.)
- Dehydrated vegetables and spices. These will keep for a long time if kept dry.
- Peanut butter. Great for a quick protein. If you’re allergic to peanuts, try almond butter or sun butter, made from sunflower seeds. (Learn how to make your own nut butter here.) Don’t like nut butter? Apple butter and/or applesauce is good too.
- A reflective blanket. Find in the camping section of most stores or online here.
- A blanket. I have a fuzzy one that I keep in the car, just in case.
- A first aid kit. See how to make a natural first aid kit here.
- Granola type bars and natural sugar. Powdered creamer is good to have too of you are a coffee addict like me.
- Coffee and cocoa mixes.
- Powdered electrolyte supplements in packets. They can be added to water easily.
- Silverware, plates, and any other utensils you might need. I always pack a large spoon and a sharp knife.
- Any medications you may need. I don’t have any prescriptions, but I have a small pack that has pain killer, cinnamon capsules, and lactose enzymes. I switch these out every few months too.
- Tuna and chicken in a can. They keep forever. (Maybe not the most natural, but could save your life if stranded without electricity.) Neither of these needs to be heated as they are precooked.
- A bar of natural soap along with a washcloth and towel for each family member.
- A small bottle of vodka. It can act as a hand sanitizer and is not as drying on your hands as rubbing alcohol. It can be used on cuts and scrapes to kill germs, too.
- A change of clothes for each person. All of your clothes and shoes. I slid down a hill once and was soaked to the skin. I had a clean pair of pants in the car but no underwear, socks or shoes. I was very uncomfortable, and cold for the rest of the day. Pack your shoes in a plastic grocery bag to keep them dry. It keeps any dirt on them from soiling other things.
- A flashlight. Replace the batteries a few times a year.
- Baby wipes. You can learn to make your own natural baby wipes here.
- Cash money. In emergency situations, some stores may not be able to take credit cards.
Keeping Items In Your Emergency Kit Fresh
I mentioned switching some things out every few months, but really, everything should be replaced at least twice a year. I do that at Daylight Savings time, like checking smoke detector batteries. Check the dates on any cans and jars. Wash and dry all clothing and blankets. Check the charcoal and matches to be sure they are still dry. Check for bugs. (I swear, those stink bugs get into everything!)
You can add fresh items during the year if you know they will last. In the fall, I put a hard skinned squash in my pack. If I can’t cook it, it can still be eaten raw if necessary. Apples are another good choice. Choose keeping apples like Arkansas Black or Haralsons. These can’t be kept for long, but for a week or so, they will be fine. (Check this list for more apples that will keep well.)
Do you have an emergency pack ready?
If so, what’s in yours? Please share with the community in the comments!