Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

Do You Have A Car Emergency Kit?

car emergency kitToday’s blog may seem a little off topic from my normal discussions, but I hope it will make sense to you… I’ll even explain why I’m posting it. I think a lot of times, especially as women, we aren’t fully prepared for an emergency when it comes to our vehicles. How many of us know how to change a tire? How to jump off a car? How to even check the fluids in our vehicles? Do you have a car emergency kit for when things go wrong?

I grew up practically in a shop. My uncle and my brother worked on cars all day, and I learned from them. My mom grew up in that same shop watching her daddy and her brothers work on cars all day. My brother started a wrecker service when he returned from the army, and I used to LOVE going on wrecker calls with him when I was a teenager, and it was never a surprise that most of our non-emergency (and non-tow) calls were from women who just honestly had no clue what was going on with their vehicles… A few tips and a car emergency kit would have saved them SOOOOOO much money in wrecker fees.

In my family, it would probably be of no surprise to you that I grew up with a lot of clunker cars… They may not have all been Fords, but they were fixed or repaired daily. Somehow though, my mom, sisters, and myself have all seemed to move up in the world and finally have somewhat decent cars, and we’ve gotten a little lax in the always be prepared department because of it. So, what happened to cause today’s discussion? A little something that made me feel very stupid. I went shopping with my mom, and apparently the headlights or something in the vehicle we were in had been left on… And the battery went dead. Dead dead. Thankfully, we did have jumper cables with us, and we definitely knew how to use them (from many years of prior experience) but I was shocked to think about what we didn’t have, and even more shocked to find a lady who was willing to help us, but had no clue how to even pop the hood of her car…

So, that brings us to today’s topic of discussion… Car emergency kits. I find that no kit is a one size fits all, but you may just be able to find one that you like in the link I just provided you with. However, if you’re like me and you prefer to build your own made of quality products (and in an awesomely cute bag that you are proud to pull out even if your car is a POS), I’m going to provide you with the perfect list to pick and choose from.

  • Roadside flares– These are not absolutely necessary, but I like them a LOT better than the reflective triangles that you see all the time.
  • A first-aid kit– Because it will ALWAYS come in handy!
  • Work gloves or latex gloves– I prefer to have both, because you never know what the situation will be…
  • Two quarts of oil- This, of course, is specific to your car. And you need to know how to check it to make sure of whether or not it is low… And you need to know where to add it from, because you do not add it from the same place the dipstick comes out of of.
  • Jumper cables
  • One gallon of antifreeze– I prefer getting the pre-diluted kind, which is honestly what you should have in your emergency kit as well.
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra fuses– Why? Because if a fuse goes out… You could be stuck with a car that won’t go, headlights that are out, or any sort of problem. You don’t HAVE to have this kit, but it’s important to have an assortment, and important to know where your fuses in your car are.
  • A blanket
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries- Just in case it’s dark out.
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • Vise grips
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A pair of pliers
  • A tire inflator– This is always helpful, and will prevent a call for a towing service
  • Fix-a-flat, but for someone who’s willing to put in the time to learn how to use it, a tire plug kit will give you more bang for your buck.
  • A tire pressure gauge– Keeping a check on your tire pressure may just prevent you from being stuck on the side of the road…
  • Some rags and a funnel– Should be self-explanatory…
  • A roll of duct tape– The redneck solution to EVERYTHING!!!
  • A roll of paper towels– Although I like the shop towels I linked to sooooo much better.
  • A spray bottle with washer fluid
  • An ice scraper– If you live up north… Let’s face it, if you’re in the south, you will never need this.
  • A pocketknife, or a leatherman
  • Bottled water
  • Granola or energy bars

I hope you all will let me know if I have left anything out, and what is in your car emergency kit… And, more than anything, I hope that you find this blog to be useful.

See you soon,

Alicia

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Emergency Preparedness

In this week’s challenge we’ll make an emergency preparedness kit to make sure our family is secure in the case of a disaster or other emergency, plus do a few other safety related tasks around our homes as well.

Emergency Preparedness

emergency preparedness copy

Emergency situations and disasters can happen. It isn’t something we like to think about, but just turning on the news, or even hearing stories from our friends and family members, makes it clear that we shouldn’t just ignore the possibility because it is very real.

While that is the bad news, the good news is that we can prepare for those emergencies, and doing so is something that can help us feel a bit more in control again, and ease our worry.

It can also mean the difference between being slightly comfortable in a bad situtaion, as opposed to really uncomfortable, or even more importantly, sometimes it can be the difference between life and death.

That’s why in every organized homethere should be an emergency kit that can help you weather whatever disasters most likely would effect the area you live in, as well as taking several other safety precautions.

Are you new here? The Create An Emergency Preparedness Kit Challenge is part of the 52 Week Home Organization Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren’t already a regular reader).

Step 1: Be Prepared For Fires, Natural Disasters & Extreme Weather

The first step in this week’s challenge is to take steps to become prepared for fires, natural disasters and extreme weather that can occur in or surrounding your home.

The natural disasters and types of extreme weather you can expect and should prepare for, to an extent, are different in each area of the country, and really the world.

So consider this more general advice that I’m providing below in the lens of those particular disasters, such as earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes, or something else entirely, and make sure whatever preparations you take will be adequate for the type of disasters you’re more likely to experience.

Everyone, of course, needs to prepare for the possibility of house fires.

Talk To Your Family & Develop A Plan, And Practice It

For each type of emergency or disaster that your household needs to prepare for, you need to talk to your family and develop a plan for how to prepare for it.

It is not enough for you to know the plan, and no one else. That is why family involvement is so important, because in an emergency everyone needs to know what to do, to the extent that they’re capable of acting on their own.

It is also not enough for everyone to just discuss it. Actually practicing the steps is also extremely important.

In addition, here’s some more general tips that you should take to be prepared for these emergencies:

  • All adults, teens and older children should know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
  • Identify the safest places in your home for earthquakes and tornadoes.
  • Consider and map out escape routes from each room in your home. Practice them at least twice a year.
  • Choose two emergency meeting places for your household, one outside your home, but close by, and one outside the neighborhood in case you are gone when the disaster occurs and are not able to get back to your home again.
  • Keep a working flashlight on every floor of your home and know where to find them.
  • Make sure you have placed fire extinguishers in all the important spots in your home.
  • Make sure everyone in your home (even kids) know how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Install smoke detectors throughout your home, and change the batteries yearly.
  • Routinely check your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and flashlights to make sure they are in good working order. You can use Daylight Saving Time’s beginning and end as a reminder if you wish, to do it twice annually.
  • Make a plan for your pets as well, and consider that many emergency or disaster shelters do not allow pets.

Make Sure You’ve Got A Home Inventory

If a fire or natural disaster occurs, or you’re the victim of theft, it is important to know what the contents of your home were, so that you can work with your home insurance company to replace your belongings. This is the main purpose of a home inventory.

I actually believe this is so important that I’ve added creating a home inventory as an entire challenge in this 52 Week Home Organization Challenge, and we’ll be working on it together later this year.

Suffice it to say during this challenge that you need to keep your home inventory in a safe place, with at least one copy preferably outside your home, such as at a trusted friend or relatives home, or in your safe deposit box. This is just logical because if your home is damaged or destroyed in some way it might make your copy of your home inventory stored there inaccessible.

Emergency Contact List Should Be Handy In Case Of Crisis

Finally, it is important for everyone in your home to have ready access to an emergency contact list.

Step 2: Create A 3 Day Emergency Kit

The second step in this week’s challenge is to create a three day emergency kit.

The reason is that emergency situations may limit your access to food, water, heat or other necessities and you need to be prepared.

Some people suggest having more than just three days worth of supplies, and I am not saying you don’t want to go above and beyond, but if you don’t have any type of emergency kit at all I suggest starting with a three day version, because it is really the minimum you should have.

One of the things listed on this supply list is a first aid kit.

Please remember that we will work on our first aid kit for our home during the Organize Medicines & First Aid Kit Challenge in just a couple of weeks. But you should consider having a separate first aid kit for your emergency kit, because in an emergency you might need to grab your emergency kit quickly, and not have a chance to run to where you normally keep your first aid kit as an additional stop.

If you do not want to create your own personalized emergency kit, or you just don’t have time to create one right now, you can purchase a three day emergency supply kit (also known as a 72 hour kit). It will not contain exactly the things on the list I created and mentioned above, but if you don’t have time to do anything else, it is much better than nothing.

Once you create or purchase your kit you have to remember to also regularly replace supplies as they expire or get too old.

In addition, as your family changes circumstances and grows older you need to update things such as the size of clothes or shoes in the kit, add supplies for new household members, or update medications or even add extra eyeglasses for a family member who just got a new prescription, for example.

To do all these types of updates I suggest getting into a routine of checking and updating your emergency kit twice a year, both at the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time.

Step 3: Create A Car Emergency Kit

We need an emergency kit for our house, but we also need one for our car(s) since we are in them a lot as well.

This is important all year round, but becomes especially important during winter weather as well.

Step 4: Child Proof Your Home To The Extent Necessary

Finally, the last step of this week’s challenge is to child proof your home to the extent necessary.

Obviously, if you have no small children living in your home, nor any that visit frequently, this won’t take you nearly as long as for those with small kids.

But we need to acknowledge that emergencies don’t just happen with natural disasters, or large calamities like house fires, but can also just happen when we turn our back for just a second.

Kids will be kids and it is our job, as caregivers, to provide a safe environment for them, especially for kids so young they just don’t know better yet.

Here’s a quick list of safety tasks you should consider:

  • Install safety latches or locks on cabinets and drawers where potentially dangerous objects are stored;
  • Keep all poisons, medications, knives and other sharp objects out of reach;
  • Anchor tall furniture to the wall to prevent it from toppling;
  • Cover sharp edges of furniture;
  • Ensure children cannot easily get to dangerous areas (including swimming pools) without supervision, and install safety gates inside the house as necessary;
  • Shield electrical outlets with covers;
  • Hanging wires and cords, including long window-blind cords, are out of reach;
  • Small objects that could be choking hazards are out of reach.
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