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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.
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.
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.
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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:
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.
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.
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.