It's something most of us fail to do, plan for emergencies big or small. Sure we have some band-aids in the medicine cabinet. We might have even purchased a fire exinguisher at some point, but probably don't know where exactly it is or if it is still charged and usuable. However, every year Americans get caught in emergency situations with out the basic items essential to survival. So here is a short list of things every house should have to ensure small emergencies don't become tragedies. 


1. Smoke and carbon monoxide dectors- We all know how important they are, yet ever year people lose their lives because they don't have them or they weren't maintained. Interconnected dectors are great because if one goes off then the all do and you can be assured that everyone in the house will here it. Maintainance is as important, as purchase. Change the batteries every 6 months, and perform tests every month. Make sure everyone in the house knows what the alarm sounds like. It is also important to remember that some detectors lose sensitivity as times goes on, so they may need to be replaced every 10 years or so.

2. Fire Extinguishers- Many or most people don't even think to have one of them in their home, yet a fire extinguisher could make all the difference in stopping a minor issue from turning into a major tragedy. Each household should have one or more A-B-C in easily accesible locations. Make sure you know how to use it. Fire extinguishers lose their charge over time so check the pressure gage on them every quarter.

3. First Aid Kit- Sorry a box of band-aids don't cut it. You need to purchase one or make one. It should include basic wound dressing, essential medications for your family, and quantities should reflect the size of your family. Rotate stock of medications to ensure that they aren't out fo date. You should also make sure that at least one adult is first-aid and CPR certified.

4. Flashlights, Radio, and extra batteries- Power outages usually don't happen in the best of times, so it's important be ready. Keep a flashlight and radio with your emergency kit, and also more flashlights where they can be found easily when needed. It wouldn't hurt to get some of the crank/wind up flashlights/radios.

5. Food and Water supplies- you should have enough food, and water (1 gallon per person per day) for at least three days. If you have pets, don't forget their food and water. Food should be canned or other non-perishable form. Don't forget the manual can opener. Keep your emergency stach in a cool dry place. Check it every six months for expired items an replace. A good time to do it is when you are replacing the dector batteries.

6. Have a plan- You need to have a plan for whatever situation you may find yourself in. Fire is a concern for all of us, and some folks have issues with flooding, or tornados. It is important to have a plan and make sure everyone in the family knows what that plan is. Practice the plan together. You are less likely to panic and make a mistake if you have a plan and have practiced it.

These are all simple and easy things we can all do that could make all the difference when it comes to an emergency.