Most people know they should have emergency supplies ready to go, but you may not be sure where to start, what to gather, and then what to do with it all. That’s why we’ve come up with a system for gathering, organizing/packing, and storing our emergency supply boxes.
Yes, I said boxes. We believe that to be completely prepared for any emergency, you need to have three specific emergency boxes assembled. You can find lists of suggested items to include in your emergency kit at FEMA or the Red Cross, but we take things a little bit further. In our home, we’ve divided our emergency supplies into three specific kits or boxes: a Stay-Home Box, a Leave-Home Box, and a Food Box.
Having emergency supply boxes prepped and ready to go is a must, especially for those of us who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.
Here is a quick guide to how we assemble and organize our three emergency supply boxes/kits.
We recommend packing your boxes in three separate clear containers and clearly marking each: Home, Leave, or Food.
The Stay-Home Box
This is the box you will need if there is an emergency and you are stuck IN your home for an extended amount of time, possibly without electricity, heat, or other utilities. This box will consist of items that you might not typically have around your house for everyday use.
Here are 5 items we suggest you include in your Stay-Home box:
Flashlight with extra batteries
Hand Crank Radio
For a complete list of what you’ll want to have in your Stay-Home box, click here.
The Leave-Home Box
This box will have items you’ll need if you are forced to evacuate your home. If you evacuate, you will also want to take your Stay box and your Food box, plus water.
Here are 5 items we suggest you include in your Leave-Home box:
To view an extensive list of what to include in your leave box, click here.
The Food Box
This box will, obviously, be filled with food. You’ll want to store this box in your home, but also grab it in case of an evacuation.
Here are 5 food items we suggest you include in your Food box:
Canned Fruit and Vegetables
Canned soup, stews, and meat
MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)
These are just our recommendations, please feel free to add and remove items based on your taste and dietary restrictions. Remember to have a variety of items and not to include things that can easily spoil without refrigeration. To view our full list, click here.
Don’t Just Store them and Forget Them!
You may think that creating emergency supply boxes is simply gathering the water, food, and supplies, putting them in a box, storing them in a closet, and then (hopefully) never thinking about them again.
The truth is, your emergency plans and supplies need to be checked and reviewed quarterly. Some items will have expiration dates and others will completely stop working as time passes. I suggest making it a habit to go through the items in your boxes to check dates and replace/update items 4 times a year. One way to make this a habit is to do it on the first day of each season.
If you’d like a full list of what we put in each of our boxes plus a handy checklist for keeping track of what’s in your boxes and each item’s expiration date, check out our FREE Family Home Emergency Plan. You can download itright here. Inside, you’ll also find tips for preparing your home, printable lists and trackers for assembling emergency information, and other important planning tools.