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7 Tips on Keeping a Home Emergency Supply Kit: Be Ready for Storms, Terrorism

Stash It Away for a Rainy Day in Brooklyn NY: Hurricanes, Earthquakes


Humbled by hurricanes, shook by storms, ticked off by terrorist alerts, New Yorkers might, finally, be ready to actually keep a tiny piece of real estate in our homes dedicated to "Emergency Supplies." But with apartment space tight, and a New York attitude that doesn't scare easily, what's the minimum one needs to secure?

1. How Many Days Should My Emergency Supplies Last?

Think in three or four day blocks.

Usually, though not always, after a storm or natural disaster , Brooklyn and the city overall are up and running after a few days: stores are re-stocked, the MTA is back on track with trains and buses running, and the crisis has passed.

As for possible terrorist attacks, nobody knows what might happen or how long New Yorkers might be stuck indoors in an emergency scenario. A terrorist attack at Atlantic Terminal subway station or on the Brooklyn Bridge is unthinkable. Except that it's not. So, be prepared.

So at minimum, pack enough in your cupboard or closet for a long weekend — at home. That said, some experts recommend preparing an emergency supply kit that will last an entire week.

2. There's No Room in My Apartment! Where to Keep Your Emergency Supplies in a Brooklyn or NY Apartment

It's smart to carve out a special place for your Emergency Supply Kit, perhaps in a closet. But don't leave it in the kitchen where you'll be tempted to cannibalize those cans of black beans or spam.

And, make sure your Emergency Supply Kit isn't impossibly buried under a pile of books. Worst case, you might need to grab it and run.

Where to Put It? Put your Emergency Supply Kit under the bed, in a trunk that doubles as a coffee-table, or in a large plastic bag with an ironic label stuck on it, and feature it as art. Use your imagination.

3. What to Keep in an An Emergency Supply Kit

Find out what you need to pack in your home emergency supply kit.

4. What's the Difference Between an Emergency Supply Kit and a Go Bag?

The Emergency Supply Kit described here is meant to stay in your home.

The "Go Bag" is what you'll need to grab and run. Ideally, your "Go Bag" will contain all of the things in the Emergency Supply Kit and more, such as clothing.

5. How Often Must You Update Your Emergency Kit?

Check your Emergency Supply Kit periodically, say every six months or so, to make sure nobody's cannibalized that stash of sports bars, that the water and food are fresh, and that whatever medications, glasses, or other special items you need are still applicable. For instance, a baby who a few months ago was in need only of baby formula might now need jars of baby food, or if you're lucky, your toddler's outgrown the need for diapers.

6. How To Remember to Update Your Emergency Kit

Remind yourself to update the Emergency Supply Kit. Put it on your calendar, as in, "Update Emergency Kit," so you don't forget. Even canned food has expiration dates, and so does bottled water.

7. How to Store Your Emergency Supply Kit: Ready to Run

Keep the items in your Emergency Supply Kit together, so that if you need to evacuate, it's easy to find. If possible, use a strong plastic bag with a zipper, something that's light but waterproof. If you need to leave quickly, you will need even more items (cash, ID, clothing) so you won't want to waste precious time searching around for a carry-all.

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