In my pre-kid years, I was a little ummmmmm uptight about things. Ok. You got me, I am still a little uptight about certain things. Either fortunately or unfortunately, I have less time to obsess these days. Suffice to say, the cleaning and home maintenance schedule spreadsheet was misplaced months ago, and this place has been effectively demonstrating the third law of thermodynamics ever since.
One of the things I tried to do prior to having the kid was make sure we were prepared for an emergency. There were working flashlights and extra batteries on each floor, there was a fully stocked first aid kit. I knew the fire extinguishers would work. The inventory of our home’s contents was updated timely and the safe deposit box contained up to date important documents.
Of course, I also didn’t pee my pants or go three days without a shower before I had Mac, but that’s not exactly relevant to this post. . .
Sure, I had neglected the flashlights for about a year. And the first aid kit for possibly even longer but I kept putting the maintenance on the back burner. It’s not really that much fun to check the expiration dates on your Advil and Betadine wipes.
However, a few nights ago, our power went out unexpectedly. I guess there was a very large warehouse fire a few blocks from our house and we lost power. The power was restored relatively quickly; however, at the time, they weren’t sure when they could correct the problem – which was a little unnerving. Oh, and my parents where here.
So when I went to the main-floor closet to get a flash light, imagine my surprise when it wasn’t there. And when I blindly stumbled to the basement to get two more flashlights, imagine my even greater surprise that neither of them worked – the batteries had corroded and gummed up the works.
It was time to get the emergency kits back in working order – especially with summer storms and the threat of the kid learning how to walk banging himself into things regularly looming. Don’t even get me started on that stupid Mayan calendar!
Now, you can find a wealth of information about what your emergency kit should contain from various online resources. If you are like me, it will make you positively insane. Our house is entirely too small to stockpile mountains of water and dog food and blankets and clothing in waterproof containers. If the situation is that dire, I am kinda’ of the mindset, you might as well just crack open a beer and play Twister and try to find some joy in your last moments before the apocalypse.
So I’ve decided to do the best I can for less serious emergencies. Here’s what I do broken down by room/area of the house:
Master Bedroom: Fire Extinguisher in closet; emergency fire ladder and working flashlight under bed; Small Kit in Closet Containing: band aids and similar small first aid items, batteries (various sizes), a list of important numbers, a list of things to pack rapidly in case of evacuation, and a little cash and matches in a waterproof bag.
Mac’s Bedroom: Empty duffel bag in his wardrobe so I can readily pack if needed.
Main Floor Coat Closet: Fire extinguisher, working flashlights, various sizes of batteries, several empty backpacks, a battery and crank powered emergency radio, more matches, and a larger first aid kit.
In the desk, I keep a list of safe deposit documents and a copy of the home’s inventory.
We also keep a stash of outdoor emergency items in our back-pack: Those super compact thermal blankets, rain gear, rope, some snap hot-packs, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, a little battery-powered lantern & extra batteries, Aquaphor.
In my purse I have a small cosmetics bag that contains tweezers, bobby and safety pins, a few hair bands, a small sewing kit, a spare set of contacts and lens solution, a few band-aids, some dental floss and finger “brush-ups,” Aquaphor (of course), chewing gum, and a small Swiss Army Knife.
Kitchen: A few extra non-perishable/canned goods – beans, tuna, tomatoes, granola bars, cereal. In the freezer, we keep several ice packs and boo-boo bunnies. I realize these likely aren’t recommended by the Red Cross or FEMA but they are just so stinking cute!
Basement: Some bottled water in the fridge. A few larger jugs of bottled water under the stairs. Flashlights. Extra sweat shirts and blankets. Several waterproof tubs under the beds. They are full of stuff currently but if the circumstances were dire, I could just dump the contents and reload. Also, several pet carriers/crates. And who knows what that Boy Scout Chris has stashed with his tools and other manly possessions on the two shelves I’ve alloted to him?! Duct tape perhaps?
Car: tire pump and other gear needed to patch or change a flat tire, jumper cables, insurance info. In winter we always make sure to keep or bring along an extra warm item for Mac and blanket in case we get stranded, as well as extra snacks/drinks.
On my list to do/purchase? Some sort of gadget to generate power for a smart phone. You know, just in case I need to live Tweet a minor earthquake. Seriously, that earthquake last year flipped me OUT! Plus, a more comprehensive road-side emergency kit. I also need to inspect the fire extinguishers to ascertain whether or not they are still functional. And of course, we ALWAYS need more batteries.
I realize this isn’t the most comprehensive list. However, it’s the best I can do right now with the space we have available. I think it addresses a good number of minor mishaps that could occur. I’m certain I haven’t thought of everything though!
What do you keep handy for a small or large emergency? Did you purchase anything specific for your baby or children? Do you have a family evacuation plan? What about your pets?
PS: Don’t forget to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors!