The post-pandemic emergency kit goes a step further than the emergency kits we built after the 1998 ice storm in Quebec. It includes the extra flashlight and batteries, emergency food storage, an alternative heat source and resources like cash on hand. 2020 has taught us that our emergency kits need updating.
The Pre-Pandemic Emergency Plan
Traditionally, the goal has been to prepare for emergencies like natural disasters and extreme weather. The steps below were developed with those concerns in mind.
- Know your community’s emergency plan. See if you can get a copy of it, and be sure to know the areas of your community that you can go in the case of emergency.
- Learn the emergency plans of your local schools and workplaces in case you are not at home when it happens.
- Make an escape plan from your home. Perform drills on how to get out and when to meet in the event of an emergency.
- Create an emergency kit that includes: food and water, clothing, blankets, flashlights, batteries, contact numbers, local plans, emergency money, first aid kit, etc.
Other Safety Measures
- Invest in a generator to have as an alternative source of energy
- Purchase food insurance in case you lose your power and are forced to dispose of your fridge and freezer contents
- Keep important documents in a fire and waterproof safe
- Keep your vehicle full of gas
- Be trained in first aid and CPR
Post-Pandemic Emergency Kit
The post-pandemic emergency kit still includes the items and suggestions listed above, but we have discovered so many other needs in this particular type of emergency. Many people displayed hoarding tendencies during the pandemic, causing shortages of many essential items. As things slowly return to normal, we can start to create a reasonable stockpile of these items:
- Toilet paper: It was amazing how fast this disappeared! I am not suggesting hoarding toilet paper, but putting one or two packages in a closet in case of emergency would be beneficial
- Disinfectant: Put a large bottle of disinfectant aside with one or two empty spray bottles for ease of use. I also chose to put aside a can of disinfectant spray for fabric.
- Hand sanitizer: Store one travel-size hand sanitizer for every member of your household, and a large bottle to refill them. A regular size pump bottle of hand sanitizer can also be refilled and works well by the front door.
- Prescription Medications: Stay ahead of your medications, including items like emergency inhalers that you may not use as regularly. In the event of a pandemic (knock on wood!), call in your prescriptions as soon as possible.
- Over the Counter Medications: Quarantine taught us how difficult it can be to access the things we took for granted in the past. Ibuprofen/acetaminophen, antihistamines, cold medication, antibiotic creams, anti-diarrheal meds, antacids and nausea relief are all good things to have on hand.
- Medical Equipment: Every household needs a thermometer and the emergency kit should hold extra batteries and ear covers for your thermometer. A vaporizer can also be handy, particularly in times where respiratory viruses are a threat.
- Masks & Gloves: It is doubtful that any of us will be without masks for some time, but it is still a good idea to put some aside for the future. Keep a combination of cloth and medical-grade for all situations. Gloves are useful in many situations, so keeping a box in the kit is a good idea.
Having cash on hand has always been touted as essential for emergencies, and I still believe that to be true. However, the pandemic has taught us that other forms of payment can also be vital. If you don’t have use of a credit card or tap debit card, consider putting some gift cards aside.
The importance of the emergency fund was verified by the pandemic. Job loss and under-employment caused financial stress for many people across the world. While the recommendation is three to six months of expenses, that number may seem daunting. Try putting a few dollars aside out of every pay, along with any unexpected income, and it will grow in time.
The Non-Essential Essentials
The post-pandemic emergency kit needs entertainment items. These may not be essential for life but they are necessary for our sanity. Each person will have their own unique interests but here are some ideas that will keep a family happy and entertained.
- Board games
- Playing cards
- Yarn with knitting needles and crochet hooks
- Paint, brushes and paper
- Exercise equipment
- Gardening supplies
- Video game systems and gift cards for games
- Puzzle books ie. sudoku
- Outdoor games
Separation from people outside of your home has been tough for most of us, particularly those who live alone. Internet and mobile phones have been a lifeline for so many. I felt validated for allowing my children to all have cell phones and computers so they could text with their friends or chat during a video game. Keep contact information for people that you and your family members may have only connected with in-person so those relationships are maintained while in isolation.
Let’s hope that we don’t go through another pandemic anytime soon, but if we do, we can all be prepared.