6 household items you can use in case of an emergency

The time to start preparing is now.

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  • With recent earthquake warnings in southern California and Hurricane Matthew threatening Florida and the East Coast, people are starting to think a lot more about preparing for emergencies. In case of an emergency or impending natural disaster, instead of rushing to the store and buying everything off the shelves, start building up your food storage and emergency supplies now. Buy a little extra the next time you go to the grocery store just in case.

  • However, you may be surprised to find that you can use regular household items in an emergency if needed. If you find yourself facing a disaster, check out these six useful items you can use:

  • 1. A crayon can work as a candle

  • First off, you need to make sure you have a stash of matches or lighters. This way you can light candles if the power goes out. If the power is out and you have plenty of matches but no candles, have no fear: the crayon is here to save you. Secure the base of the crayon with some tinfoil (so it won't tip over) and light the crayon at the top of its paper wrapping. The paper serves as the wick for the waxy crayon. This childhood staple will burn for at least 30 minutes, depending on the size of the crayon.

  • Buy it: Crayola Classic Color Pack Crayons

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  • 2. Duct tape can fix pretty much anything

  • Duct tape can patch holes, fix things that are broken or be used to form a sling. It can reseal packages of food, serve as flypaper, wrap a sprained ankle or splint a broken bone and so much more. You'll want to keep several rolls handy in case of an emergency.

  • Buy it: 3 Pack of Duck Brand Duct Tape

  • 3. A tarp has multiple uses

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  • A tarp has many different uses. You can use it to build a shelter, to catch rainwater and keep your living space dry. Most importantly if you lose heat, a tarp can be used to section off an area of your house to keep heat localized to one room. This will be especially handy if you have an emergency in the middle of winter and need to stay warm. Store multiple tarps in your house so one can be used to catch rain water while the other keeps you dry.

  • Buy it: Stansport Reinforced Brown Rip-Stop Tarp

  • 4. Salt has over 14,000 uses

  • According to the Salt Institute, salt has over 14,000 known uses. Here are some of the more practical uses perfect for an emergency:

    • Alleviate pain from bug bites or stings

    • Combined with water, it will kill weeds and poisonous plants like poison ivy

    • A salt bath will bring down the swelling of small wounds and draw out infection

    • Throw in some salt when you wash your clothes so they won't freeze if you air dry them in the winter

    • It will preserve foods, especially meats

    • Salt melts ice

    • Salt in wet shoes will help them dry faster and reduce stinky smells

    • Combine salt with baking soda to use as toothpaste or a stain remover

    • Line windows and doorways with salt to prevent ants from coming indoors

  • Buy it: Morton Iodized Salt

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  • 5. Apple cider vinegar is a natural antibiotic

  • Regular vinegar is useful too, but apple cider vinegar can do everything regular vinegar can and so much more. Because if its medicinal properties, apple cider vinegar is a natural antibiotic. If in an emergency you can't get to a hospital, these uses will come in handy:

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    • Relieves eczema and other skin conditions

    • Cleans and disinfects the kitchen, bathroom and other hard surfaces

    • Helps to heal cuts and scrapes and eliminate scarring

    • Will cure a sore throat if you gargle with it

    • Fights dandruff

    • Kills bacteria on your face that causes acne

    • Tenderizes meats

    • Helps with digestion and soothing heartburn

    • Apple cider vinegar is especially nutritious because it contains minerals and enzymes like calcium and potassium

  • Buy it: Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 6. Bleach can sanitize drinking water

  • Bleach will come in handy because it contains the necessary properties to sanitize your drinking water. First and foremost, it's important to keep a storage of purified drinking water. If all of your clean drinking water has run out in an emergency or you don't have any in the first place, use bleach to sanitize your water. Use ¼ teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of clear drinking water or ½ teaspoon per one gallon of cloudy, filtered drinking water. Before drinking, let the mixture stand for at least 30 minutes to ensure it's completely sanitized.

  • Buy it: Clorox Bleach

  • These six household items will give you a good start in case of an emergency, but don't forget to start preparing now. Don't wait until you're facing an emergency head on to start preparing. The more prepared you are in advance, the more likely you are to survive.

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Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.

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