Be Prepared

Learn how to be prepared.

Every Boy Scout knows the rule: Be prepared.

The same goes for protecting your home and family in case of disaster. Having home and car safety kits provides peace of mind now–and critical supplies later if trouble comes.

Car safety kits

Stranded, cold and hungry along the highway is nowhere you want to be. A well-stocked emergency roadside kit could help you get back on the road quickly and safely. (And if you’re stuck, at least you’ll be stuck with a snack and a warm blanket.)

Pre-assembled kits are available to purchase, but you might want to assemble your own or customize a purchased kit.

The Basics

  • Cell phone, car charger and a list of emergency numbers for the police, fire station and more
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Two roadside flares
  • Quart of oil
  • Small first aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Multipurpose tool or pocket knife
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tire inflator
  • Duct tape
  • Rags
  • Your car’s manual
  • Pen and paper
  • Help sign

The Extras

  • Jumper cables or a portable battery booster
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • Extra fuses
  • Extra flashlight batteries
  • Basic tools: Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Granola or energy bars
  • Bottled water
  • An approved gas container
  • A road atlas
  • Items to survive snow and cold weather like warm blankets, gloves, an ice scraper, a folding camp shovel and sand or kitty litter that can provide traction for a stuck tire

Check your kit occasionally to make sure it’s shipshape, the spare tire is inflated, batteries are charged, first-aid supplies are stocked, water is fresh and food is dry. Be familiar with how each tool works before you need to use it in an emergency. Also remember that the most important tool you have is common sense; stopping to change a tire in the fast lane is an accident waiting to happen.

Home safety kits

Experts recommend preparing to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Ready to get prepared? Consider compiling your own home safety kit.

The Basics

  • Water, one gallon per person, per day
  • Nonperishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Cash and change in a waterproof container
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (that means taking immediate shelter where you are– at home, work, school or in between, usually for just a few hours)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with battery-powered or solar charger

The Extras

  • Prescription medications and eyeglasses
  • Infant formula and supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, in a waterproof container
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid guide (FEMA offers many free publications)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing for each person
  • Unscented household bleach and medicine dropper (bleach is an effective disinfectant and can also be used to treat drinking water)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Disposable cups, plates, paper towels and utensils
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Store your household kit in a large, portable, watertight container (a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels works well). Make sure it’s accessible, and remember to change out batteries periodically, make sure the energy bars and peanut butter haven’t gone bad and resist the temptation to raid the spare cash.

Another way you can prepare for an emergency is by making sure you have the right auto insurance and homeowners insurance. Talk to an insurance professional like an Erie Insurance Agent to learn more.

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