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What’s in YOUR Emergency Kit?

bike helmet whistle

I give a lot of talks about weather preparedness. In those, I usually ask the audience, whether they’re school-aged children or seniors, to call out items that should be in a safety kit. Very few guess the two pictured above – a bike helmet and a whistle. In fact, only a few understand why they should be on hand.

Frankly, I had never heard the helmet advice until I moved to Alabama in 2013. Just a few years after the devastating April 2011 outbreak, helmets had become the new normal. It was suggested as a way to reduce the extent of injuries caused by blunt force trauma of object hurled by high winds.

In the case of a whistle, it turns out that even if you have suffered substantial injuries during a storm, you will have enough breath to blow a whistle. That way, first responders might be able to find you if you’re trapped under debris. It may turn out to be an invaluable tool to use if you can’t call out for help.

Most everyone guesses a majority of the other items on the list: bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, blanket, closed-toe shoes, portable radio, flashlight and batteries. However, I’m often surprised at how many children think a candle should be in the kit. I usually caution against that because in the dark, striking a match could be dangerous, especially if there is a gas leak.

What’s in YOUR safety kit? I’d like to hear about the unusual as well as any different ways you prepare for storm threats. Email me at

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