We get this question a few times a week – and it’s a great question! If the unexpected happens, where will be accessible? Where will everything stay secure, dry, and vermin-free? We have the answers!
Kit on Wheels
The absolute best place to keep an emergency kit is in itself an emergency kit. Confused? I’m talking about RVs! If you have a smaller home parked in your driveway, it can double as a really strong emergency kit. Why camp when you can glamp, after all?
Storing emergency supplies inside an RV protects them from the elements, keeps them secure, and minimizes what pests can reach them. It offers some insulation from shifting temperatures and will still be standing and be safe to enter after most major events.
If an RV is not an option (#same) consider any other vehicles you have. Should a vehicle have enough space, keeping your kit there means it will be with you on the move, and it will be protected from falling objects. However, if you park your car underground regularly, one of the below options might be a better choice.
Vehicles of all sorts make great options for storing emergency kits, but if you choose this route be sure to hide a spare car key somewhere outdoors. Magnetic key boxes that attach to the bottom of your vehicle are discreet and affordable. They’re also perfect for those times when you get locked out of the car.
Near an Exit
If you don’t have a vehicle or if your vehicle is too small to keep a week of supplies (go small cars!) your next best choice is to store your kit by your home’s main exit. This is best if your supplies include temperature-sensitive items like MREs or freeze-dried food, or if you live in an apartment. If you’re relying on good old ration bars, outdoors (below) might be better.
Think through your emergency plan and what routes from your home you are most likely to take. Storing your emergency kit along this course will make it easy to grab and go during an evacuation. Hall closets are popular choices, but be sure not to bury the supplies under the day-to-day detritus. It needs to be accessible at all times.
I like to recommend storing supplies at the front of a garage if that is an option. It’s usually not central, and the metal doors will be easier to get through if the house is damaged than solid walls or heavier debris. Garage storage also allows for quick and easy car-loading if an evacuation calls for you to hit the road.
This option is great for anyone with a yard or garden. Get a secure, airtight, heavy-duty storage box and keep your kit out back. We highly recommend truck totes/boxes for this job, as they tend to be large and lockable.
Temperature-sensitive food can make things awkward with outdoor storage unless you have a cool shed or root cellar, so keep shortened shelf lives in mind while making storage plans. Don’t listen to anyone who calls it a bunker – they’ll be the ones at your door if something does happen.
If you’re a DIY god/goddess and have the time and energy, turning an old fridge on its side and burying it keeps supplies discreet, cool, and secure from pretty much anything. They also make amazing time capsules, if you’re into that.
It’s time to talk basements.
You don’t own a large vehicle, your house doesn’t have much outdoor space, no garage, and the hall closets are all stuffed to bursting with your precious collection of mid-century antiques that will definitely be worth a fortune one day. What’s a person to do?
Basements, attics, and crawl spaces are all great storage solutions for our holiday decorations and old sports gear, but they’re not ideal for storing disaster supplies. They can be awkward to get into at the best of times, are often the first victims in floods, and are at the bottom of the heap if your house becomes structurally unsound.
But they’re still better than nothing! A person with supplies in the basement is still 100% better off than a person with no supplies. It may be tricky to get to them after some disasters, but at least you have something to get to, rather than relying on external forces that are probably overwhelmed.
However, before you make the decision to store your supplies underground, touch base with your neighbours and see if they have somewhere outdoors that they’d be willing to share. Heck, maybe you could even pool resources and have a stronger kit together than either party could have on their own.
RVs are the best emergency kits you can have, but there are other great places to store supplies as well. In vehicles, hall closets, on exit routes, or outdoors all work well. If you’re in a pinch, ask a neighbour if they have some spare storage space, or use a basement or crawl space. Want to learn more about building emergency kits? We’ve written more about that here.
Thank you for reading – share with us in the comments where you keep your kit! (Mine is behind a bar by my front door.)
This article was written by Zenia Platten – Author of Tethered and Emergency Preparedness Professional.