Spring has sprung! Well, in some parts of the country. In others, they are dealing with freak snow storms, heavy rainfall, floods, and many other weather related events. But regardless of whether you are one of the few who is experiencing fair weather, or if you are one of those cursing the weather, it’s time to check and rotate the items in your emergency kits.
It’s important to update your emergency kit every 6 months. You want to check for expired foods, and clothing items that may not fit. You never know when you may need your kit, but you want to make sure you have items that are safe to use and will actually be helpful should the need arise.Checking your kit also gives you the opportunity to replace items, or to even add in forgotten items. You may need to add essential items to your kit if you’ve added a baby to the family, or maybe you have a child that is old enough to carry their own kit, and you can lighten the load in your backpack. Regardless of the situation, by checking and rotating the items in your kit, you will be better off.
Water – Your water may be in various containers. Water bottles should be used and replaced. If you have a refillable water bottle, replace the water and use the old water to water plants. If your water is in a long-term water pouch, check for an expiration date. While the water technically doesn’t expire, your container may start to break down and will need to be rotated. Don’t forget to check any water-treatment chemicals in your kit as well. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to use them so you can ensure you have clean water.
Food – It doesn’t matter whether you have granola bars or canned foods, check the expiration date. If needed, make sure to replace and rotate those items. Consider switching to long term food storage items. You can get up to 25 years with these pouches here () Also, if you have young children, check that the food is appropriate. You may need to add formula, baby food, or small snacks in your kit.
First Aid – This is usually a forgotten area, but first aid items do have an expiration date. Not only do items such as pain relievers and ointments need to be rotated, but even your bandages should be checked. Over time, the stickiness will start not be, well… sticky anymore. Rotate them out if you notice this problem.Power – Most of us know the battery has gone bad when our devices stop working. Stay one step ahead and replace the batteries in your emergency kit. You want batteries that have plenty of life and won’t die shortly after putting them in your flashlight. If you have chosen to go the reusable route, it’s time to give your batteries a charge. Fully charge them before replacing in your emergency kit.
Lighting – You may have glow sticks in your emergency kit. These are a simple and cheap lighting solution. Since they are chemical based, they do expire. Check the date and replace them if needed. The old ones can be given to the kids for a evening of glow in the dark hid-and-seek.Warmth – Yes, it may be spring, but the nights can still be very chilly. In fact, you may even have snow on the ground still. Look through your emergency kit for handwarmers. These little babies are great for a chilly evening, but need to be rotated every couple of years. If you aren’t sure when they should be rotated, give them a squeeze. They should be soft inside. If they crinkle and crunch, it’s time for some new ones.
Clothing – Check the clothing in your kit for proper fit. Children have probably grown since the last time that you checked their kits, and if there is winter gear, such as coats, you can switch them out for lighter jackets.