NYC Emergency Kit Checklist: What to Prepare and Why

Originally posted on November 30, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on November 28, 2022 8:08 pm

The sad fact of life is that disasters can happen at a moment’s notice. Some things, like large storms, are easy to predict but their effects can range from minor to large. This is why it’s good to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. There are a number of items one should have in their home that will be vital for any emergency they may face. So read this checklist and get yourself prepared for the future!

Essential Emergency Items

  • Water: The amount of extra water you keep in your home can range depending on how much storage you have. At minimum you should have a few extra gallons per person in your household in case pipes in your area freeze or burst.
  • Food: Thanks to COVID, people realize how important it is to have a surplus of food in an emergency. Make sure you get perishable items that don’t need refrigeration. Canned goods are definitely the way to go here. Similarly, make sure to have a surplus of food ready for your pets.
  • Fire Extinguisher: This one is a bit obvious, but not everyone has a fire extinguisher in their home. So go out and get one today.
  • Excess of Medications: If you need to take certain medications daily, it’s good to get a surplus of them if you’re able. If you get trapped, you might not be able to go out and pick up a prescription for a bit.
  • First-Aid Kit: A proper first-aid kit will have bandages, gauze, antibiotics, and even small splints. Having these items can make all the difference in an emergency.
  • Flashlight/Extra Batteries: In major emergencies, the power can often go out in your home. Having a flashlight and extra batteries will keep you seeing in the dark. Hand crank flashlights work too, but those can get annoying.
  • Cell Phone, Charger, and Emergency Contacts: Many people take their cell phone for granted, but it could be one of your only lifelines to the outside world. Make sure you can fully charge it, and have numbers to call in the event of an emergency.
  • Crank Radio: If power goes out, and you are trapped inside, a hand crank radio might be your only way to get information about the emergency situation, especially if your phone dies.
  • Emergency Blankets: If your power goes out, your heat will likely go out too. Having emergency blankets is a great way to fight the cold.
  • Legal Documents and Cash: Some emergencies require an evacuation. For this reason, it’s important to have an ID, your social security card, passports, and even insurance policies on hand. Other important documents should already be packed in one place so you can easily grab them and go in an emergency. A binder with plastic sleeves is a great place to securely and safely store such documents. Having emergency cash will also help you along the way.

Non-Essentials That Are Still Good to Have

  • Maps: If you’ve lived in your area for a while, then you likely know it pretty well. That said, if you are new to your area, or you just want to be safe, having a map of your town and surrounding area could be very beneficial.
  • Multi-Tool: A swiss army knife or multi-tool is a great asset. With handy tools like screwdrivers, knives, scissors, and even mini saws, you can solve a lot of problems.
  • Duct Tape: It might be a trope at this point, but duct tape is very reliable when it comes to fixing things quickly, especially in an emergency.
  • Extra Keys: This one is especially useful to people with families. No one wants to get trapped outside, so It’s important for everyone in your family to have an extra set of house keys.
  • Masks: Having an N95 or a surgical mask can be helpful for filtering air. If the emergency you’re in kicks up dust, grotesque smells, or chemicals, then masks can help minimize that damage as you breathe.
  • Gloves and Towels: Depending on the emergency, these items could keep you from touching contaminated items and help prevent water damage.
  • Whistle: If you’re trapped somewhere, whistles are a great way to draw the attention of first responders.
  • Entertainment: During an emergency, you can spend hours with no electricity. It’s important to keep your mind engaged. Plus, it will give you something to do while you wait for help.

Have an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan can mean the difference between a happy ending and a tragic one. It’s important to have two plans: one for if you hunker down in your home, and one for an evacuation. For the former, have a list of numbers you call, including first responders, who will be able to give you specific instructions on what to do during the emergency. If you need to evacuate, it’s good to have a place to meet up with friends and family, as well as a list of numbers to call. Have a radio or phone on hand in order to get specific evacuation instructions from officials. Make sure to discuss your emergency plans with your family or other co-inhabitants before an emergency occurs.

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