Storing Your Emergency Supplies

Properly storing your emergency supplies is important, and there are a few things to consider as you gather your supplies and decide where to keep them.

Think about the types of emergency situations you face, then plan accordingly. Are you located near an earthquake fault, flood zone, or do you face frequent winter storms, hurricanes, or tornado warnings? When disaster strikes, you need to be able to reach your supplies quickly and easily, so storing them in places you can get to is critical.

There's no point to having emergency supplies if you need a ladder to get to them or they're buried under a pile of boxes. Make sure you can access your supplies in a moment's notice.

If your basement is the safest place to be in a disaster, then store your supplies there and make sure they're easy to access. However, if you live on the upper floor of an apartment building and earthquakes are you main concern, you'll probably want to store you emergency supplies in a backpack and make sure it's located somewhere along your escape route.

Locating supplies in your home is a must, however, FEMA recommends storing additional supplies at work, in your car(s), and other places you frequent. If you have children, you should check with their school to see if they have emergency supplies on campus. Many do, but if not, consider supplying them with a small kit to keep in the locker, desk, cubby, or backpack.

Tips for Storing Emergency Supplies at Home

null Make a Plan. Determine what you will do if you are at home in the event of a disaster. Will you remain at home, or leave (if it's safe to do so)? Make sure your relatives and/or friends know what your plan is. has a FREE Emergency Preparedness Planning Guidethat you can use to help build a plan for and your family.
null If you plan to remain at home, consider storing your supplies in a crush resistant storage container. Likewise, if you plan to leave your home, consider a backpack or duffel bag for storing your supplies.
null No matter what type of container you choose to store your supplies in, if you can't get to them or they get destroyed by the impact of the disaster, your preparedness efforts are wasted. Protect your emergency supplies by keeping them in a location where they will be safe from falling objects, flood water, extreme heat and cold, or any other potential threat posed by disasters in your area. Also, make sure they are located and accessible by storing them somewhere along your exit path, if your plan is to evacuate.
null Many people store supplies in weather protected containers outside of their home. Basements, garages, and tool sheds also make good places to keep your supplies.

Helpful Link: Fully-Equipped Residential Emergency Kits

Tips for Storing Emergency Supplies in Your Car

While many of us are prepared for a road side emergency (flat tire, dead battery, etc.) many of us are not prepared for an extended stay in our vehicles should disaster strike. When disaster strikes, roads will become damaged and in many cases impassable. Your car may de damaged, and mobile phone service will be down. Ask yourself this...Can you safely spend the night in your vehicle? Could you walk 5 miles in the dark? What about passengers? Do you have food and water? Do you need to worry about temperatures?

While keeping an emergency preparedness kit in each of your cars is recommended by FEMA it also makes tons of sense. Your car is usually with you all the time. At work, at the mall, at school, your car is usually close by. You never know where you're going to be when disaster strikes, so hope for the best, but plan for the worse!

null Consider storing at least a three day supply of emergency food and water for one person in each of your vehicles. While you can't predict how many people might be in your car with you when a disaster occurs, a three day supply for one person will also last three people for one day.
null Consider storing these emergency preparedness items in your car(s): Flashlight with Emergency Flasher, AM/FM/NOAA Portable Radio, First Aid Kit, Distress Banner, Window Breaker / Seat belt Cutter, Survival Blanket, and a Waterproof Poncho.
null Keep an extra flashlight and a window breaker/seat belt cutter within arm's reach of the driver's seat. If you have an accident you make need to break a window, or cut through the seat belt to escape the wreckage of your vehicle. Remember that these items need to be within arm's reach to be of any use. Many cars have a utility compartment between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat. This is a great place to store these items as both the driver and passenger can reach it. A glove compartment may not be reachable by someone sitting in the driver's seat.
null When selecting products for your car emergency preparedness kit, consider items that are not only water resistant, but also operate with batteries (devices that do not require hand cranking). When operating radios and flashlights outside and in the elements, it can be difficult to operate and sometimes dangerous if constant hand cranking is required. If you need to walk or hike, you need a reliable light source which only battery operated devices can provide. High quality batteries like Duracell and Energizer, offer batteries with seven year shelf-life's. Not only should you keep a set of batteries in your flashlight, but you should also have a second set also. In the event of an emergency, you need instant access to light and you don't want to be fumbling around in the dark trying to insert batteries into your flashlight, so despite the myths about leaving batteries inside an electronic devices when not in use, you need to know that it's perfectly safe t o do so as long as the shelf life of the batteries are not expired.

Helpful Link: Fully-Equipped Emergency Kits for Cars

Tips for Storing Emergency Supplies at Work

Inquire about your company's ability to cope with a major disaster. Many companies have comprehensive emergency plans. Even so, you need to have your own plan in place just in case. Also, and as FEMA recommends, you should have some essential supplies stored at work.

null Keep you supplies in a small box or fanny pack. A desk drawer, or storage locker locate near your office or work area is a good place to keep it.
null Keep a three day supply of food and water in your kit and at a minimum includes these items: flashlight, dust mask, emergency blanket, basic first aid kit.
null Many large companies have comprehensive emergency plans and provide free supplies and training to employees. You may want to inquire about becoming a volunteer. The free training is valuable and you'll learn about and help shape your company's disaster planning activities.

Helpful Link: Fully-Equipped Office Emergency Kits

Tips for Storing Emergency Supplies at School

Find out if your child's school has emergency supplies located in each classroom. Many schools provide a Classroom Lockdown Kit that contains primarily food and water. Other schools require each student to keep a small kit in their cubby or desk. And others don't require anything. The bottom line is that you want to make sure your child has the basic supplies when disaster strikes.

null Inquire about the emergency plans at your child's school. Understand the procedures for picking up your child, where evacuation centers are located, and access routes.
null Does your child know how to contact you in an emergency situation. What if you're not at home, or phone lines / mobile services are down? Develop a Family Communications Planand have your child memorize it and keep a copy in their wallet or backpack.
null If you child needs supplies at school consider a small box kit or fanny pack kit. They are small and are great for storing in a locker, desk, cubby, or backpack.
null A basic emergency preparedness kit should include: 3 Day supply of food and water, dust mask, poncho, and emergency blanket.
null If your child's school need emergency supplies consider talking to the PTA about a fundraising program like the one offered at Essential Packs. Fundraising programs are the best way to get supplies for your child's school (and for parents), raise important funds, and actually offer a useful and potentially lifesaving product instead of the usual items like wrapping paper, cookie dough, seeds, or popcorn!

Helpful Link: Fully-Equipped Emergency Kits for Schools

These basic and common sense tips will not only provide you with piece of mind, but it will help protect you and your family in the event of a disaster. Don't procrastinate. Remember that a disaster could be seconds away! ARE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY PREPARED?