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Easy home emergency kit

Did you know that it’s a government recommendation that every home has an emergency kit with food and water to last at least 3 days? Being prepared by having the right resources on-hand could eliminate a great deal of stress if there is an emergency.

While there are pre-assembled emergency kits you can buy, you can also put your own together and might already have most of the things you need.

Sometimes it’s not always practical to keep these items aside in a kit, especially when we run out of toothpaste. If you can’t keep them in a kit, try to keep them all together in the same place.

Emergency kit

These are some of the basics you might need if you can’t access your home or need to leave in a hurry. You might find you don’t need to keep all of these separate or that there are essentials you need in addition to the below, but these should help you make a start:

  • Food (long-lasting) and drinking water (at least 3 litres per person, per day) for at least 3 days, don’t forget food suitable for babies and children if applicable

  • Torch (with spare batteries) or a self-charging torch

  • Radio (with spare batteries)

  • Mobile phone, charger and power bank

  • First aid kit and essential medicines

  • Toilet paper and large rubbish bags 

  • Toiletries – towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary items

  • Face and dust masks 

  • Water for cleaning and cooking

  • A can opener

  • Something to cook with (such as a gas BBQ)

  • Walking shoes, warm clothes, a raincoat and a sun hat

  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Sanity savers

By sorting these out now, you’ll thank yourself later. Here’s a quick list of a few items that will save your sanity in an emergency:

  • Head lamp

  • Baby wipes

  • Ear plugs

  • Hand sanitiser

  • Lip balm

  • Identification (originals or copies of any birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licences and passports)

  • Important documents (e.g. insurance policies and mortgage information)

  • Precious family photos (or you could have them all stored online)

Don’t forget your pets

When preparing for an emergency, we can often forget about what our furry friends will need. Here’s a quick list of a few basics to include with your emergency kit:

  • Food (long-lasting) and water for at least 3 days

  • Essential medication

  • Vet records

  • Photo and description of your pet

  • First aid kit – your vet may be able to help with supplies

  • Blanket/bedding, crate and a favourite toy

  • Leash, collar/harness

  • Cleaning supplies for accidents (paper towels, poo bags, disinfectant, gloves)

Final Tips

Planning for an emergency can be a daunting task. Try some of these tips to ensure you’re prepared:

  • If you can't buy everything at once, add an item or two to your grocery list each week to gradually build up your emergency kit 

  • Keep a laminated copy of your checklist with your kit. Use a whiteboard marker to keep track of the items

  • Keep your emergency kit in an easy to access place and let everyone in the house know where it is. You never know when you might need to leave in a hurry

  • You may find it easier to sort items into individual backpacks for everyone in your home

  • Check your batteries and power bank every 3 months

  • Check and replace food and water every 12 months

  • Ensure your food and water supplies include supplies for pets and children

  • Discuss and make an emergency plan for your household. Having one in place can be a great help so everyone knows what to do, no matter where you are

For more information on how to get ready for an emergency, please see getthru.govt.nz and getready.govt.nz.

Updated April 2021.

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