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September is National Preparedness Month which aims to highlight personal planning to mitigate unexpected disasters and emergencies such as power outages, fires and injury. In a poll conducted by Wells Fargo, 71% of Americans admit they don’t have a detailed emergency plan in the event of a natural disaster. By having a robust plan and being prepared for a variety of situations, you can better protect your loved ones and your home.
Ready.gov, which organizes National Preparedness Month, chooses a different theme each year, with this year's theme being “A lasting legacy”. The website says, "The life you’ve built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family." To help you accomplish that, we've come up with a list of nine products to always have in your home in case of emergencies.
1. First aid kit
Injury needn't follow catastrophic weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes. Often, people injure themselves performing mundane tasks like cutting their finger on a knife. Despite how often little things like that can happen, 44% of Americans don’t have first-aid kits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s important to keep a first aid kit in your house to deal with unexpected injuries big and small. The Protect Life 100-piece First Aid Kit is the best first aid kit thanks to its compact size, lightweight build and the vast number of essentials it can hold.
2. Portable battery pack or power station
You've probably experienced a power outage before, but it can still come as a shock when it happens. With major storms such as hurricanes and blizzards becoming more frequent thanks to climate change, it stands to reason that power outages will become more frequent as well. If you don't have a backup generator, you can mitigate the inconvenience of power outages by using a portable power station, which can keep your appliances and electronics up and running for a long period of time. The Bluetti AC200P is a heavy hitter when it comes to ease of use and long-lasting power.
A more affordable (and compact) option is to use a power bank to keep essentials like cellphones and other small devices changed. Of the portable battery packs we've tested, we found the Mophie Powerstation to be the best thanks to its compact size and fast charging times. Plus, it's powerful enough to charge two phones at once or one larger tablet.
3. Matches or a lighter
Whether you're lighting a candle to provide much-needed light or setting a fire in your backyard's firepit to prepare food, a box of matches is a good thing to have handy during an emergency. Three Stars Safety Matches is a popular brand, with reviewers liking the stylish design, low price and sturdy match sticks.
If don't prefer using matches, you can use a lighter instead. The Click-n-Flame Utility Lighter is a safer alternative than matches thanks to its long reach, which allows you to keep your fingers far away from the flame. Buyers love how easy these lighters are to use and appreciate the safety features that make them ideal for houses with children.
Batteries are another handy power source you can use during a power outage. While they won't be able to power your phone, you can use them to power a plethora of devices such as flashlights, walkie-talkies and radios. When a blackout hits, there's no telling how long you'll be without power, so it’s best to get batteries to last and Energizer's lithium batteries are some of the longest-lasting batteries around.
A flashlight is a must-have at home in the event of a power outage. Navigating in the dark is not only an annoyance but can be dangerous as well. You can brighten things up by using lanterns and candles, but a decidedly less flammable solution is using a flashlight. While your phone flashlight will suffice, you'll want to save your phone’s charge for making important phone calls or keeping up with vital information. We found the Olight Baton 3 Premium Edition to be the best flashlight thanks to its stylish charging case, ease-of-use and compact size that's easy to hold or clip onto a belt.
Having a radio during an emergency is crucial to keep up with broadcasted safety updates. This waterproof radio from FosPower can be powered using solar power, AAA batteries or hand-cranking. If that wasn't reason enough to buy it, it doubles as a flashlight and a power bank, too.
7. Bottled water
Another emergency one can experience at home is a water advisory. During a water advisory, the water quality in a given area is compromised, necessitating that authorities instruct residents how to use it properly or not at all. In a boil water advisory, you can drink, cook and bathe with your tap water if it has been boiled or filtered before use. During a “do not drink” advisory, you're not allowed to use your tap water for cooking, drinking, teeth brushing or any other activity in which the water may be ingested even if it’s been boiled. Finally, a “do not use” advisory means that the water is deemed unsafe to use for any purpose. The lesson to take here is to keep a stock of bottled water at home just in case. According to the FDA, you should keep a two-week supply consisting of one gallon per day for each member of your household.
8. Non-perishable food
If your power goes out for an extended period of time, food stored in your refrigerator may become spoiled. To make sure you have food to eat when your power is out, keep a supply in your pantry of non-perishable food items such as granola, jerky, dried fruit and nuts. Canned food can also be eaten if you have a can opener and a way to prepare it.
9. Fire extinguisher
In 2020, a house fire was reported every 89 seconds on average, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Fires can happen for a variety of reasons, but whatever the cause, a working smoke detector can help you to buy more time to evacuate to safety or extinguish a fire. The Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher is the best fire extinguisher online thanks to its small size, ease-of-use and convenient wall mount for storing.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: National Preparedness Month 2022: What to have at home for emergencies