Emergencies can strike anywhere including in and around your house. Are you prepared to deal with them or at least contain them with what you currently have?
A little preparation could go a long way in the event of a natural disaster, power outage or a government lockdown. The following are eight items you must have at home in anticipation of an emergency.
1. First aid kit
This article is translated from 8 barang wajib ada di dalam rumah jika berlaku kecemasan by Ridzwan A. Rahim.
A home emergency kit or first aid kit is one of the most basic emergency items to have at home. You can buy one from any pharmacy or home improvement store. An emergency kit typically contains basic prescription medicines, tweezers, cotton, bandages, analgesic creams and masks. Keep your kit somewhere within accessible reach of adults and easy to remember, as you do not want to be looking all over for it in an emergency.
Note: If you do not have a first aid kit at home, your car would usually have one. You can use that too, but it’s best to have one for both your home and your car.
2. Food and basic cooking ingredients
Be prepared for any eventuality. It is not just natural disasters that constitute an emergency. Pandemics and diseases are unexpected emergencies – you could be cooped up at home under government orders to stop the spread of such diseases. You need to be prepared in such cases by stocking up on food items that can be kept for a long time, at least a month.
Items you should get from the grocery store include rice, eggs, meats, canned foods such as sardines, tuna and beans as well as basic cooking ingredients – oil, braised ingredients and onions. For convenience, buy pre-packed items such as curry powder and cooking paste.
Moreover, if you have a furry friend at home, don’t forget to stock up on pet food too!
If you use cooking gas, make sure to keep a portable gas stove. This will prove handy in the event that you run out of gas or in the case of electric stove users, if the electricity gets cut off. A portable stove can also be carried with you should the situation calls for you to evacuate.
Note: If an emergency does happen and you’re not readily stocked with food, do not resort to panic buying. Before emptying your local supermarket shelves, please consider others who might need the items more than you do.
3. Matches and candles
A classic and useful survival tip for emergencies. A power outage in the middle of the night will surely make life difficult. Besides the fact that fans and air-conditioning can stop working, you would have difficulty seeing. It is dangerous and you can get into an accident. Stock up on matches and candles for use during this sort of emergency. Granted, nowadays power outages can be dealt with using the light from your smartphone, but that too requires power from your phone which may not last very long. Do keep your stock of matches and candles away from the reach of small children.
Note: These matches and candles are meant for emergency use. Please do not use them for birthdays.
4. Big bottles and water containers
For city dwellers, the problem of water supply disruption is practically an annual affair that disrupts daily life, especially for those living in the Klang Valley. Imagine if an emergency occurs and you have no water stored at home. Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, invest in water drums, bottles and medium and large-sized water containers. If water supply disruption is a fact of life in your area, all the more reason to make sure you always have backups.
When not in use, please empty these bottles, drums and containers so that they do not become mosquito breeding places. The water that you store is not just for drinking but can be used for emergencies, like putting out a small fire or to clean wounds.
5. Waterproof or fireproof containers
You will never know how critical these items are until you get into an emergency situation such as a flood or if your house catches fire. Whether in the form of a storage container, file or box, a waterproof and/or fireproof container will prove indispensable in such a calamity. While you probably won’t keep your identification card or driver’s license in them, they are useful for keeping your birth certificate, land titles and vehicle registration certificate as they prevent these documents from getting destroyed.
More often than not, we would forget these documents in an emergency as we would be preoccupied with saving our lives. At least, you are prepared for it and you can return later to retrieve them when the situation is safe.
Note: Another safe, efficient and easy to remember method is to make digital copies of your family mebers’ important documents and store them somewhere off-site. A free cloud storage service like Google Drive should be sufficient.
6. Fire extinguisher
This is a commonly found equipment in schools and offices. But it is not just these places that run the risk of a fire. Your house is exposed to the same risk too. How about investing in the safety of your house by getting a few fire extinguishers. They are inexpensive and come in various sizes. Place one in every high-risk area of your house such as the kitchen, reading room and garage. While it may not be suitable for big fires, it is effective for putting out small fires before they go out of control.
7. Duct tape and medication
This combination may seem odd, but these can save lives in an emergency. For example, to stop bleeding from a wound (and you don’t have a first aid kit on-hand) you could use duct tapes in place of a bandage while waiting to receive further treatment. In situations such as a venomous animal bite, duct tapes can be handy for stopping the flow of blood and venom.
As for medication, if any of your family members require a certain type of medication (for a disease or an allergy), it’s best to have an additional emergency stash of prescription medication stored somewhere easy to remember at home. Of course, keep this away from the reach of small children.
8. Power bank
Who would have thought that power banks would become an indispensable item for emergencies? Always be prepared for any eventuality, especially in today’s world where power is needed for your smartphone. Keep a power bank for use in an emergency. Don’t forget to fully charge your power bank and check its power level weekly so if something bad happens, you won’t be caught off-guard.
Extra: Write or print a list of phone numbers that you can call in an emergency, bearing in mind that emergencies are not just fires and theft, but can be anything. Keep this list in your wallet or purse, or tape this list near your landline telephone or on the door of your fridge.
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