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Emergency Preparedness Kit

You can never be too prepared

Emergency preparedness kits are available at a number of commercial establishments - everywhere from Costco to your local pharmacy. The contents will vary depending on your specific region and whether they are for vehicles or for a certain activity. 

The majority of home emergency kits are typically intended for the treatment of minor injuries only. However specialized kits may have contents that focus on the specific risks related to the location or purpose of the kit.

Disclaimer: I may make a small commission from some of the links on this page.

For example, an emergency preparedness kit that is purchased through a marine supply store may contain seasickness remedies, a bailer and buoyant throw rope that you wouldn't find in a kit aimed at the backcountry skier. If you are coming to Victoria for an outdoor adventure, then an Adventure Medical Kit like this one sold through Mountain Equipment Co-Op may be the right choice for you.

Basic Contents of an Emergency Preparedness Kit

  • First aid manual such as one available through St. John Ambulance
  • Bandage scissors
  • Safety pins in assorted sizes
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile elastic bandages - individually wrapped in a variety of sizes
  • Sterile gauze -individually wrapped, 4” squares
  • Triangular bandages
  • Adhesive medical tape (sometimes called first aid tape) 
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Antiseptic hand cleaner
  • Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen
  • Antibiotic ointment such as polysporin
  • Gloves 
  • Disposable emergency blanket 
  • Instant cold pack 
  • Instant hot pack
  • Barrier device for CPR
  • In these covid days, a couple face masks are also recommended
  • A cell phone could be one of the most important items in your kit. You don’t even need to have a contract – you just need a cell phone with enough battery power to be turned on. This is because Federal law requires that cell phones must be able to reach 9-1-1. Dig out that old cell phone and throw it in your emergency kit. The trick of course is ensuring that the phone is charged when you need it. Good news for those travelling in the Jordan River/Port Renfrew area - as of April 2021, the Provincial Government has promised improved cell phone service for this part of the island which means no more dead zones. It should also eliminate those "roaming charges" because carriers will ping off Canadian cell phone towers instead of Washington State.

Additional Items for an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Depending on the purpose of your kit, any or all of these items should be added:

  • Snake bite kit
  • Breathing mask
  • Butterfly closure strips (used like stitches to close wounds) 
  • Saline for cleaning wounds or washing eyes
  • Flashlight
  • Seasickness medication
  • Poison treatments
  • Anti diarrhea medication
  • Anti-itch ointment
  • Bug spray
  • After bite ointment
  • Aloe Vera gel 
  • Candles
  • Wool blanket
  • Tire chains
  • Flares
  • Dried food
  • Water
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof matches
  • Folding shovel

Other things to consider when you are pulling your emergency supplies together are the ages of the individuals that the supplies are intended for. If you have small children, then including children’s medications would be important to add.

Also, additional consideration should be given if you have pets – ensuring you have a supply of food and any medications that may be required for them. I picked up this emergency kit for pets at my local Capital Regional District for just $10. It covers all the basics including a leash, water bowl and minor injury kit in a reusable back pack. Check with the department that enforces animal bylaws in your region to see if they offer something similar.

If you have an existing first aid kit, inspect it to ensure the contents are adequate for you and your family. Check the expiry dates of any ointments, medications, food and water.

Refresh your supplies and be sure you have enough kits for your primary home, boat, vacation home – including with your camping gear - and one in each vehicle you own. 

If you don’t already have an emergency preparedness supplies kit there are many retailers who carry basic kits. For more extensive kits to cover a wider variety of emergencies, go to a store that specializes in fire and safety products. They will provide recommendations on everything you need for you and your family, specific to the types of activities you do and the region in which you live. 

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