Great holiday gift ideas in an emergency

By Tod Pritchard
Wisconsin Emergency Management

Many of us struggle with finding just the right gifts for our friends and loved ones during the holidays. Ready Wisconsin has some great gift ideas that not only help others get ready for emergency situations, but that also say you care and you want them to be safe.

Here is our ReadyWisconsin Top 5 List:

1.    Emergency Weather Radio

A NOAA weather radio is like having your own emergency siren in your home. It is one of the best ways to protect your family in the case of a disaster. Emergency radios are a 24-hour source of weather forecasts, watches, warnings and other emergency information. If there is no emergency the radio goes into a silent stand-by mode. When there is an emergency it sets off an alarm alerting you to the danger. These radios use S.A.M.E. technology which allows you to program your radio to alarm only for hazardous conditions that affect your county. You can purchase emergency radios for around $30 at most electronic stores, hardware stores and even neighborhood drug stores.


2.    Winter Weather Survival Kit

Everyone should carry a winter survival kit in their vehicle. In an emergency it could save your life and the lives of your passengers. It should include:

  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • shovel
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars and raisins
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • necessary medications
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • fluorescent distress flag and a whistle to attract attention

You can make your own kit or purchase kits at hardware stores and online retailers.


3.    Cell Phone Adapter

It is like “Murphy’s Law” — the moment you need to use your cell phone in an emergency is the moment you have no power left in your battery. So give someone a cell phone adapter to plug into a car lighter.


4.     Home Emergency Kit

In an emergency, basic services (electricity, gas, water, etc.) may be cut off for days or even weeks. You may be stuck in your home during that time or evacuated at a moment’s notice. You probably won’t have time to shop or search for the supplies you need. That’s why it is important to have your own fully-stocked disaster kit ready. The kit should include items like:

  • water
  • non-perishable food that doesn’t need electricity for storage or preparation
  • flashlights with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • pet supplies

For a complete list, visit [ ]. You can create your own starter emergency kit as a gift or purchase kits online.

 The Gift of Knowledge

We’re all on a tight budget. So consider a gift that is absolutely free…the gift of knowledge. Here’s an idea: tell friends and family about our ReadyWisconsin website — a source of great information on preparing for emergencies. Make an emergency plan with steps you will take to protect yourself and your family.

For young children give them this link to a Sesame Street video called “Let’s Get Ready!” Encourage folks to sign up for ReadyWisconsin on Facebook and Twitter for great tips and emergency information.

From everyone here at ReadyWisconsin and Wisconsin Emergency Management, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Has this list given you any ideas we didn’t include here? Let us know!