I tried to cheap out once and just refill plastic juice bottles with water. When I finally got back to working on the kit, the bottles had burst, flooding the plastic container with water and ruining the candles, flashlights and such I had collected. It had been so long since I last opened the container that the water was actually moldy.
After cleaning up that smelly mess, I sat down and thought long and hard about what was stopping me from completing this necessary task. And I finally realized that it felt wasteful to buy duplicates of things we already own. So I decided on a different plan. Rather than buying all the items the Red Cross suggests, I would instead create a document cataloguing the items and where they were in the house, so that in case of emergency we can just grab them. This epiphany opened a flurry of activity and I even figured out (and noted) how to 1) Turn off the water to the house and 2) Turn off the gas line to the house. I also made emergency kits for each car.
Here's an example of what it looks like:
Items (description, number, location):
- Red fleece blankets, 2, living room □
- Down comforters, 2, our bedroom □
- Blue down comforter, Lia's office □
- White cotton blankets, 2, front bedroom □
- Green blanket, extended emergency kit □
- Waffle comforter, Martin's office □
- Brown comforter, front bedroom □
- Bleach, under sink in laundry room □
- Bucket, 2; under sink in laundry room; part of house emergency kit □
- Car Emergency Kits, 2; trunk of each car □
- Charcoal for grill, 1 bag, in garage near side door □
- Cooler for insulin, 2, in pantry □
- Duct Tape, plastic drawers in garage □
- Dust masks, house emergency kit □
Each car emergency kit is checked by me after each oil change (2x a year) or before a long trip, and the household emergency kit is checked 2x a year.
Visit Red Cross.org and/or Ready.gov and start preparing your own kit. You can assemble it yourself (like I did) or buy a prepared kit.
I only ended up having to buy a few things, and having all this in place has made me feel so much more prepared for whatever mother nature has in store for us. Be prepared! Be safe!