If you live near the coast and are used to annual hurricanes, you’ve probably had an emergency preparation box for as long as you can remember. But for those of us who are nowhere near a beach, having an emergency box isn’t usually top of mind. But here’s the real truth my friend, there are way more natural disasters outside of a hurricane, and they can hit anywhere in the country without warning. I promise I won’t get heavy with this post, but I do want to stress that having an emergency kit is something every single homeowner should have starting right this very second.
Why You Need An Emergency Prep Box
Aside from furniture and Rachael Ray cookware and your favorite lipstick and that perfect rug that took you years to narrow down and buy, there are more things you have in your home, and a lot of them are super important during an emergency situation. If there were ever a fire, flood, major storm, or some kind of freak accident at the plant down the road, you may find yourself needing to get out of your home really quickly.
Sure, you know where your files are kept. And you know where your grandmother’s photo album is. And the flashlights and phone chargers are exactly where they’re supposed to be stored. But if you’ve got less than one minute to get your family, your pets, and yourself out of the house, there’s no way you can grab any of that stuff. Much less even think about any of it. By keeping an emergency prep box with your most important assets and needs in the event of some kind of crazy disaster, you can get out of the house quickly and easily without the added stress of remembering what to grab.
How To Stock Your Own Emergency Prep Box
Let me be clear, this isn’t an emergency kit for when you’re stuck inside during a disaster. I’m not talking about canned foods and bottled water. That’s a whole different ballgame and you definitely need one of those, too. You can read all about how to plan that type of kit in this article from Ready.gov.
This type of emergency kit is more of a grab and go to get your stuff out of the house in a hurry knowing that you’ll likely lose everything inside when you’re gone.
Start With A Sturdy Box Or Bag
Preferably, you’ll want a box or bag that has a handle for easy carrying. Think briefcase-style. Bonus points if it’s fireproof and waterproof. It doesn’t need to be huge, because you won’t have anything large inside, but you will want to make sure it closes all the way without any extra pushing and shoving. I really like this one because it’s super easy to carry.
What To Keep Inside
- Cherished family photos and mementos that are 100% irreplaceable.
- Birth certificates and social security cards
- Cash and checks, just in case you can’t get to your purse or wallet in time
- Spare car and house keys, in case you aren’t able to get to yours
- Phone chargers, one for wall outlets and one for car outlets
- Insurance information for home, cars, and health
Where To Keep Your Emergency Box
You’ll want to keep this near your most accessible exit. You can never predict which exit in your home you may have to use in the event of an emergency, but by storing your emergency box near your most accessible exterior door, you increase your chances.
Always Digitize Backup Copies
No matter how carefully you store your important info, it’s so extremely important to store digital copies within a cloud online. You can use free services like Google Drive or Dropbox, or you can invest in paid services. Whatever you choose, saving digital copies is a non-negotiable and will save you a ton of stress (and possibly money) if a disaster strikes.
Make it a priority this week to start building your own emergency prep box. Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but just in case, it’s so important to have it on the backburner hanging out by your door. I’d love to see how you’ve put together your emergency box, so share a photo with #organizedish and tag me @lelaburris on IG and @lelaburrisinc on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe your photo will inspire others to get prepared too!
If you feel like your DIY emergency prep box is still missing something (or you just want to skip the homework), grab one from Judy. They ship full, ready-made emergency kits based on your location, so you won’t get a hurricane kit if you live in South Dakota, but a Californian will have everything for an earthquake. Plus, the kits have an app, so you can text emergency preparedness questions to an expert in real time. I noticed them on GMA one morning and thought they were definitely worth mentioning.