According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a “shelter in place” order means that you need to get inside, find a safe spot, and stay put until an official deems it safe to leave the shelter. These orders generally accompany a nearby disaster, coming quickly and without warning. Therefore, in order for it to be most useful, you’ll want to have a thoughtfully-prepared shelter in place kit at the ready. We can’t always anticipate what may happen, but it simply makes sense to be prepared.
If you find yourself involved in a shelter in place order, you and your family may be grounded wherever you are at the time for days, or even weeks. Accordingly, your kit should include the absolute necessities first, then whatever luxury items there is room for. A shelter in place kit may notneed to be as portable as a bug out bag, or your 72-hour kit, so you can get a little creative with its contents. Regardless of what you choose to add to your shelter in place kit, make sure it starts with this essential emergency gear:
Shelter In Place Checklist:
1. Water- Plan on 1 Gallon per person, per day for drinking and sanitation. Datrex Water Pouches, 5-Gallon Water Containers, and other water storage options can help ensure you have access to clean water in nearly any situation.
2. Food - Have enough food in your kit to feed each person for 3-5 days, at least. Remember, the
first couple of days may be supplemented by what's already in the house. However, having a 3-21 day food supply, or some MREs in your kit is a great way to be sure you have ample food.
3. Clothes - Be sure to have an extra pair of clothes and shoes for each person in your group/family packed in your kit as well.
4. Medications - It's a good practice to collect 3-5 days worth of any prescription medications that you're taking. Also be sure to note expiration dates so that you can rotate expired medication appropriately.
5. Flashlight - During a shelter in place order, a reliable flashlight is a must. Consider spending a little more so you don’t end up with a cheap light source. The good news is there are plenty of quality, affordable flashlights to choose from, like the Ultra-Bright 3-LED Dynamo Flashlight (with USB charger).
6. Can Opener - Another item that shouldn’t be a cost-cutter, having a can opener is essential. Even if your long-term food storage isn’t stored in cans, you may find food around the kitchen (or wherever you’re sheltered) that is.
7. Radio - The ideal option for a radio is one that has multiple powering options including batteries, hand-crank, AC/DC, and/or solar to keep you informed for the duration of the shelter in place order. There are numerous options that combine your radio and flashlight into a single device.
8. Hygiene Kit - Start with the basics; soap, toilet paper and a toothbrush is enough to get most people by for 3-5 days. However, if you have room for other luxuries, they can go a long way.
9. First Aid Kit - While your shelter-in-place first aid kit may not need to be robust as others, it should still at least include an antiseptic, gloves, bandages, and non-prescription medicines like aspirin or Tylenol. There are plenty of compact, affordable first-aid kits that are perfect for shelter in place kits.
Put these 9 essential items in place and you've got a good foundation for a sheltering in place emergency kit! What else would you add to your kit?