UTV Safety Before you Ride - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

UTV safety before you ride

UTV safety: Off-road vehicles are a thrill, but they can be dangerous if you don’t know how to properly ride them. Did you know, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were almost 94,000 off-road vehicle injuries treated in the emergency room in 2017? That’s why it’s important to understand the dangers and take safety precautions before riding.

Off-road vehicles refer to many different machines, including ATVs, dirt bikes, 4-wheel drive trucks, SUVs, and UTVs. In this article, we’ll focus on UTV safety. They’re utility-terrain vehicles, utility task vehicles, or side-by-sides. They look like a cross between an ATV and a Jeep but trust me, they don’t drive like either one. Before you take one for a ride, remember these safety tips:

Don’t Drink and Drive

No matter what, never drink and drive. We’ve all heard this many times, but drinking severely impairs your reaction time and judgment. Drugs can also have this effect on your driving. Stay in control, and avoid putting yourself or anyone else in danger.

Understand the Vehicle

It may sound boring, but read the operator’s manual. It’s best to keep it in the vehicle at all times as a reference tool. Another way to familiarize yourself with the UTV is by reading the warning labels. They’re there to point out potential dangers and how to avoid them.

Do a Pre-Ride Check

Check the tires before you head out. No one wants a flat tire! Also, check your fuel level so you know when you will have to fill up again. Do a quick walk around the vehicle and look for anything that may be wrong. This step can prevent a breakdown – you’ll be thankful you did it.

Wear Safety Gear

Always wear over-the-ankle boots, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a certified helmet, and goggles if your helmet doesn’t have any eye protection. Wearing a protective suit is also something you should consider; it’s optional, but an important precaution, especially if you’re riding alone.

Wear Seat Belts

Even if you aren’t driving far, everyone in the UTV needs to wear a seat belt. Many states require this. A lot of UTV accidents are rollovers, and in some incidents, people have been ejected from their seats.

Practice Driving for UTV Safety

Practice, practice, practice! The first time you drive a UTV you will probably want to go fast, but I highly recommend taking it slow. Practice going a safe speed, taking corners, and adjusting to the way it rides on trails. If the driver is a young teen, be sure they have supervision.

Remember Passenger UTV Safety

Never carry more passengers than the UTV is designed for, and make sure they keep their limbs inside the vehicle at all times. There should be handlebars for passengers to hold on to – if a passenger is unable to reach the handles, then they should not be riding. Once all of the passengers are in, make sure the doors are secured and locked shut.

Stay on the Trail

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Shield Insurance Agency Meijer Gift Card Winner

Gift Card Winners Compliments of Shield Insurance Agency!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Every week, Shield Insurance Agency draws a winner of a local gift card from its clients and social media followers.

Be sure to LIKE our Facebook Page to get yourself entered to win and see who the winners are!

Shield Insurance Agency has given away thousands of dollars in local gift cards over the last 20 years serving Michigan.

Shield Insurance Agency Lowes Gift Card Winner!
Shield Insurance Agency Target Gift Card Winner!
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Panera Bread Gift Card Winner at Shield Insurance Agency
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Shield Insurance gives away another local gift card!
Target Shield Insurance Gift Card Give A Way
Red Robin Gift Card Winner at Shield Insurance Agency

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Your Referrals to Shield Insurance Agency Help a Local Family in Need

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Family

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Sparta, Michigan Family

Your Referrals to Shield Insurance Agency Help a Local Family in Need

Your referral can make a difference for Roslyn and Maddox who both have a form of Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital. Shield Insurance is helping this Sparta, MI family by donating $25 for each non-client who gets a quote from us.

No purchase necessary!

CLICK HERE to get a quote and we’ll donate $25 to them! (Be sure to mention Roslyn and Maddox in the comment section!) You can also call or text the office (616) 896-4600 and one of our agents will take a few minutes of your time to offer up a quote. Don’t forget to mention Ros and Maddox

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of your friends, family & business associates. Thank you for your trust!”

Meet Roslyn
Roslyn and Shield Insurance Agency Referral Program

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Campfires - Keep Safety Top of Mind- Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Campfires: Keep Safety Top of Mind

A nice evening by the glow and heat of a fire can be one of the most enjoyable parts of camping. Whether you’re gathering with friends, making s’mores, or just basking in the warmth, there are many reasons campfires are a long-standing tradition. That being said, creating a fire comes with a lot of responsibility. In the United States, people start nearly nine out of ten wildfires. 1 So the next time you get ready to light that match, keep these safety tips in mind.

Check fire regulations.

Make sure you know the rules of the campground or area where you’re planning the fire. There may be a temporary ban when the risk of wildfires is higher.

Pick a safe spot.

Use an existing fire circle or pit when available. If you’re in a remote area, dig a pit in an open space and circle it with rocks. Keep at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs, or any other items and debris. Also, stay away from overhanging branches, power lines, or other hazards that could catch on fire.

Building the campfires.

Start your fire with dry grass, leaves, or needles, and then add sticks less than one inch around. Once the fire gets going, add larger pieces of wood. Many people stack these teepee style or crisscross. Make sure you have a source of water and a shovel nearby in case you need to control the fire.

Always watch.

It can be easy to get distracted and walk away, but it’s important someone always has an eye on the fire. Even a small breeze can spread fire quickly. Take extra care if there are children or pets nearby. Teach kids about the danger of fire and demonstrate how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothes catch on fire.

Extinguishing the campfires.

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Staffing Shortages May Affect Your Next Trip - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Staffing Shortages May Affect Your Next Trip

Pack your patience as the travel industry struggles with staffing shortages.

by Bill Fink, AARP, October 13, 2021

Staff Shortages due to the pandemic.

Due to the tourism slowdown at the height of the pandemic, many airlines, hotels, restaurants, and attractions cut back operations, laid-off employees, or closed altogether. Now, as travel has begun to rebound, many of those businesses find themselves short of staff and resources. Travelers are feeling the pinch — both in the pocketbook and in the planning process — with lower inventory for accommodations (sometimes due to a shortage of housekeeping staff), longer wait times for services, limited opening hours at restaurants, and higher prices in many popular destinations.

It’s even resulted in at least some flight cancellations: Southwest grounded one-third of its planes on Oct. 10, with 1,900 canceled throughout that weekend. Airline officials cited staffing challenges as one reason for the chaos.

We talked to experts about the situation and what travelers should consider when planning trips, especially to busy places that might be hardest hit by the worker shortage.  

Book early — and check opening times

Caroline Beteta, CEO of Visit California, says, “Businesses here and across the country, especially in the hospitality industry, are feeling the effects of a shortage of employees as demand for travel ramps up. As the industry gets back to work, it’s more important than ever for travelers to book far in advance.”

During a midday check-in at Napa’s Embassy Suites hotel in the heart of California’s wine country on a recent trip, the desk clerk suggests making dinner reservations “like, right this minute, if you’re thinking of going anywhere in town for dinner. Normally you wouldn’t have to, but everyone’s short-staffed, so it’s tough to get a seat.” Circe Sher, the owner of Hotel Healdsburg in neighboring Sonoma County, says, “Many wineries who made the switch from walk-in to reservations only stayed that way due to staffing shortages. I suggest checking the days and times restaurants are open. If you are returning to a place, the restaurant you remember being open seven days a week may only be open five to accommodate reduced staff.”

That’s true across the country, including on Cape Cod in Massachusetts: The Mews Restaurant in Provincetown is one of many in this tourist town closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, even at the height of the season this past summer. Others, such as Barnstable Tuscan Cuisine, have eliminated the lunch service. Steve Tait, co-owner of Aerie House, a seven-room B&B, said one issue has been that the resort area’s summer worker population is usually boosted by young people who come from Europe on J-1 student visas, mostly unavailable this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. For Aerie House, that’s meant eliminating daily housekeeping services. “It’s been pretty rough,” Tait says. 

Expect to pay more

Michael Jacobson, president of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told local CBS news, “We are still facing staffing challenges both in the frontline, hourly positions as well as management. It has resulted in some hotels reporting they have to limit room sales because they do not have enough staff to accommodate 100 percent occupancy.”

With hotels booked, many travelers are turning to Airbnb and other short-term rentals — but increased demand is driving higher prices there as well. Vered Schwarz, chief operating officer of property management platform Guesty, says, “This Christmas is to be the most expensive holiday this year in the U.S. Travelers are currently booking at prices 53 percent higher than 2020 and 80 percent higher than pre-COVID 2019. Reservation volume across the U.S. is up 469 percent compared to 2020, and even 157 percent higher than 2019.”

The opening of U.S. borders to foreign tourists, expected to begin in early November, is not going to make things better for American travelers. Joshua Bush, CEO of AvenueTwo Travel agency, says, “While the news of the U.S. easing entry restrictions is great for the economy and overall travel industry, it does have a downside. With hotels running at limited capacity, this may shut out Americans who have not planned ahead. For the upcoming holiday season, my worry is that some Americans wanting to go to warm U.S. destinations may be left out in the cold.” 

Be Flexible

California’s Beteta suggests looking at alternative destinations or timing: “Seasonal demand is an important factor for staffing shortages. Consider traveling during a destination’s shoulder or off-season when regions are less congested.” Booking a ski resort town in fall, for example, or a cool-weather coastal trip in winter will help with pricing and availability, she notes.

Be patient and kind

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Fire Prevention 52 RV Fire Safety 101 - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Fire Prevention 52: RV Fire Safety 101

20,000 RV Fires Occur Annually

RV fire safety is of premium importance to the conscientious RVer. Unfortunately, fire is one of the leading causes of RV loss in the U.S. today. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that 20,000 RV fires occur annually. Don’t let yours be one of them!

RV fires can start when your RV is moving or when it is parked. The following tips can help you recognize the most common fire hazards. 

Before you go:

  • Make a pre-trip checklist and inspect your RV every time you hit the road.
  • Have three fire extinguishers for your RV–one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom, and one outside in an unlocked compartment or in your tow vehicle. Make sure every traveler knows where they are located and how to use them.
  • Test your smoke detector.
  • Have at least two escape routes and an escape plan. Practice it with your travelers.
  • Make sure all travelers can open the front door, hatches, and emergency exits.
  • Ensure that your RV’s carbon monoxide and propane detectors are properly located and functioning.
  • Spontaneous combustion can occur in damp charcoal. Before you travel, buy fresh charcoal, keep it dry, and store it in a covered metal container.
  • Ensure that the power cord for connecting your RV to a campground’s electricity supply is in good condition and of suitable gauge wire to handle the electrical load. Replace damaged cords immediately.

RV Maintenance is important:

  • Have your RV’s brakes checked. A dragging brake can create enough friction to ignite a tire or brake fluid.
  • Bouncing down the road can loosen electrical connections, which can produce heat, and in turn, fire. Tighten them before your trip.
  • Check all 12-volt connections before every trip. Many RV fires are caused by a 12-volt short.
  • Leaking fluids in the engine compartment can ignite. During your pre-trip inspection, check all hoses for firmness, clamp tightness, and signs of leaking. Have repairs made before you travel.
  • Mechanical or electrical failures cause roughly three-quarters of the highway vehicle fires. Proper maintenance will help reduce your chances of having malfunctions on the road.

Safety while driving:

  • At each rest stop, give your tires at least an eyeball check. Remember, a pressure gauge reading on hot tires is NOT accurate.
  • Shut off the propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving. If you have an accident or tire blowout while the propane is on, your injury and the damage to your vehicle can be significantly worse. If you elect to travel with the refrigerator operating on propane, you must turn it–and all appliances–off prior to entering a fuel stop. (FYI – Most refrigerators will keep food cold or frozen for eight hours without running while you travel.)
  • Be cautious of where you pull over and park. A hot exhaust pipe or catalytic converter can easily ignite dry grass underneath your RV.

RV Fire Safety while you are camping (or parked):

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never leave appliances that are plugged in and on unattended.
  • Turn off overhead exhaust fans when you leave the RV.
  • Don’t leave 12-volt lights on. Keep clothing and other burnable things away from them (like in storage spaces). They get very hot.
  • If the flame on your galley stove goes out while in use, unless you have run out of fuel, the gas will continue to flow and could result in an explosion. Turn off the stove and air out the RV before trying to relight.
  • Keep all combustibles–from paper towels to curtains–far enough away from your stove that they cannot catch fire.
  • Gasoline and propane can pose an immediate, explosive danger. Deal at once with any leaks or spills, and use all fuels in adequately vented areas. Operate your generator in an area where gasoline fumes cannot reach an ignition source.
  • Keep your campsite fire sources, such as fire rings, tiki torches, and lanterns, away from all vehicles.
  • RVs often have a very limited number of electrical outlets, and sometimes RVers use powerstrips to plug in more things. Don’t overload the electrical outlets! Circuit breakers don’t always prevent overloads from starting fires!
  • It’s best never to use an extension cord in an RV. If you must, make sure you use a HEAVY DUTY extension cord, and make sure the load you put on it is well within its safe load capacity. DON’T run any electrical cord under a carpet or floor mat.

If there is a fire:

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Shield Insurance Agency - Types of insurance and the insurance companies Shield is proud to represent

Shield Insurance Agency Product List

Types of Insurance Shield Agency Provides

Shield Insurance Agency has been in business for so many years, we can shop a lot of different companies for a lot of different types of insurance to be sure you get what you need for the price you can afford. Check out the list!


  • Auto Insurance
  • Boat Insurance
  • Condo Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Event Insurance
  • Farm Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Mobile Homeowners Insurance
  • Motorcycle Insurance
  • Motorhome Insurance
  • Recreational Vehicle Insurance
  • Renter Insurance
  • Term Life Insurance


  • Auto Facilities
  • Bond Insurance
  • Business Interruption
  • Cannabusiness
  • Church Insurance
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Contractor Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Group Health Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Security Bond Insurance
  • Workers Compensation

Insurance Companies Shield Agency is Proud to Represent

Accident Fund
American Modern
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD
Berkshire Hathaway Homestate
Blue Cross Blue Shield/BCN
Bristol West
Companion Life
Delta Dental

Golden Rule
Liberty Mutual
Liberty Union
Molina Healthcare
National General

North American Company
Principal Financial Group
Priority Health
State Auto
Superior Flood
The Hartford
United Healthcare

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How to Survive a Prolonged Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Survive a Prolonged Power Outage

Approach appliances with caution, use gas to cook, and more tips on how to safely get through a power outage.

1. Write Important Information on Paper

During a power outage, your cell phone is your lifeline and you’re likely to want to keep it charged in case of an emergency.

Because you can’t depend on your phone indefinitely, write down phone numbers and addresses you might need, such as a nearby hospital, a school that’s providing supplies, the local library or storm shelter, or other public places that might have power—places where you’ll be able to go to recharge your electronics and contact loved ones.

Then conserve your phone’s battery life by switching the phone to a power-saving setting, such as airplane mode on an iPhone or economy mode on an Android device.

When you make your way to a local shelter or library, it’s a smart idea to take a power strip, says Maria Rerecich, senior director and head of product testing for CR.

This way, when you do find power, you can charge multiple devices at once—or share the makeshift charging station with others.

2. Use Gas to Cook Food That Will Spoil

In homes that have lost power but suffered little other damage, you can safely cook on a gas stove. But you’ll probably need to light the burner with a match or lighter because the electronic ignition on a stove won’t work if the power is out. And if you have a gas grill, cooking with it is another option. If you were able to properly store your grill before the storm, in a dry space such as a garage, and notice no water damage to the grill or gas tank, it should be safe to use it to grill food.

Food in your refrigerator can maintain a safe temperature—below 40° F—for about 4 hours on average. Cook any perishables (raw meat and soft cheese, especially) within this time period; otherwise, toss these items. Even after that 4-hour window, food can spend an additional 2 hours above 40° F before it becomes unsafe to cook. A full freezer should stay cold for about 48 hours after the power is lost; a half-full freezer should stay cold for about 24 hours.

Anything that you cook but don’t eat, you’ll need to throw out after 2 hours because you’ll have no way to keep it cool enough to prevent it from spoiling. (You can always share with the neighbors.) Good to know: Lots of homeowners insurance policies will cover the replacement cost of spoiled food, so it’s really not worth taking the risk of consuming it.

3. If You Have a Generator, Use It Safely

Running a generator improperly can kill you in as little as 5 minutes if the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough. And it happens: An average of 60 to 70 people a year die a year from generator-associated carbon monoxide poisoning, according to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so you won’t even know you’re inhaling it,” says Don Huber, CR’s director of product safety. “No matter what, resist the urge to move a portable generator inside the house or the garage.”

Operate a generator as far from the house as possible—CR recommends at least 20 feet—and direct the exhaust away from doors or windows. If you don’t have a transfer switch installed, you can run an outdoor-rated extension cord of the appropriate gauge from the generator’s outlets to individual appliances, provided the cords are properly rated and you follow certain precautions. The gauge of extension cord your generator requires will be specified in the user manual.

4. No Generator? Unplug Your Appliances.

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How to Create Healthy Habits — and Get them to Stick - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Create Healthy Habits — and Get them to Stick

Science-based advice on how to become a better you as we enter a post-pandemic world

by Michelle Crouch, AARP, May 5, 2021, 

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out across the country and life slowly starts to return to normal, experts say it’s a great time to reevaluate your habits and consider making changes to improve your health and well-being. Research shows that the start of any new phase — be it the resumption of post-pandemic life, turning a year older or the invigorating days of spring  — can serve as powerful psychological motivation to kick-start new habits. It’s called the fresh-start effect.

The end of the pandemic is “this momentous, collective fresh start that has all the features you need if you want to jump-start change,” says Katy Milkman, a behavioral scientist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of the new book How to Change.  “Maybe you didn’t achieve your fitness goals or build better routines, but that was the ‘old you’ during the pandemic. The new you can do it in this new era.”

In an informal poll on Twitter, Milkman found that half of her followers had already set some sort of post-pandemic resolution.

BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist at Stanford University and author of Tiny Habits, explains that anytime your context or environment changes, your habits change naturally.  “So this is a good time to put in a little bit of thought to design the habits you want,” he says. “Don’t leave your habits to chance.”

Motivation alone is not enough

Research shows that nearly half of our actions are habitual and that changing them isn’t necessarily all about willpower. In fact, motivation alone rarely works for the very reason that our habits are an unconscious behavior, says Susan Weinschenk, a behavioral psychologist at The Team W, a training and consulting firm in Edgar, Wisconsin. “We have to set things up to use the unconscious part of our brain to do this for us,” she says. That opportunity “is the part a lot of people miss” when they try to flip a switch to override actions they’ve been doing on repeat for years, if not decades.

Weinschenk and other experts share these science-based tips on how to develop better habits that will last.

1. Start with a small and specific action.

Experts say that if you’re serious about wanting to create a healthier habit, you have to narrow your focus first. Skip the kinds of goals that are vague, broad, or intimidating. Want to get in shape? Too broad. Determined to start walking regularly? Still too big.

You’ll set yourself up for success, however, if you break a bigger goal down into smaller, more specific ones. Fogg recommends starting with one tiny, easy action. If you want to walk more, for instance, first set a smaller intention to put on your walking shoes when you finish dinner (but don’t necessarily commit to taking a stroll). Or if you struggle to floss regularly, tell yourself you will floss just one tooth every night after you brush.

The key is to choose an action that feels entirely — even ridiculously — doable and that takes less than 30 seconds, Fogg says. That way, even if you don’t feel like doing it, you’ll do it anyway because it’s so easy. “It takes out the need for willpower — that’s the psychological component,” Fogg notes. “Tons of research shows the easier something is to do, the more likely people are to do it.”

In time, the teeny habit will become an automatic part of your routine. Once that habit is rooted, you can expand it to include really taking the evening stroll or flossing all of your teeth.

2. Pick a trigger or anchor for your new practice.

Next, figure out where your habit can fit into your existing routine, and anchor it to something you already do. In the examples above, each action is tied to an existing behavior: When you finish dinner, you put on your shoes. After you brush your teeth, you floss one tooth.

When it comes to anchors, there are endless possibilities. You could decide to take your vitamins after you turn on the coffeemaker, do two squats before you get into the shower, or meditate every morning as soon as you wake up. Having an anchor is important because otherwise, it’s too easy to run out of time in your day, not to make your new habit a priority, or just to forget to do it.

According to Weinschenk, the best triggers have a physical component. That’s because of the way the brain is structured, she says, with the “the motor part of our brain connected with the conditioned response.” Seeing a “start exercising” reminder pop up on your phone, then, is not as ideal as using something like making showering your signal to start your squats.

3. Find pleasure in it.

Research shows that you’re more likely to stick with a new habit if you enjoy it. So if you hate the gym, commit to doing a physical activity you relish, whether it’s gardening, hiking, or taking a dance class.

One easy way to make a habit more fun is to make it social, Milkman suggests. Set up a regular time to walk with a friend or sign up for a yoga class with a pal.

In a study, Milkman’s team paid one group of people a dollar every time they exercised and another group a dollar every time they exercised with a friend. Even though recruiting someone added a hassle factor, the participants who went with a pal exercised about 30 percent more, Milkman says. Having an exercise buddy is “a double whammy,” she says, “because you get that accountability but it’s also more fun.”

4. Try “temptation bundling.”

Another way to make a new habit fun is to pair it with an activity you enjoy, a strategy that Milkman has coined temptation bundling.

In a study published in Management Science, Milkman found that people went to the gym significantly more often over a seven-week span when they were given audiobooks to listen to during their workouts. To motivate the participants, the researchers specifically chose tempting page-turners like the Hunger Games and the Da Vinci Code series.

Milkman says the pairing strategy can work with many types of habits. Maybe you watch a TV show you love only while you’re walking on the treadmill, you go to your favorite burger joint just when you’re spending time with a difficult relative, or you listen to your favorite podcast only when you’re preparing a home-cooked meal.

Milkman likes to bundle pedicures with the paperwork she’s been putting off. “I love getting my toes done, but I use it as a hook to get myself to do important work I need to finish.”

5. Slide a good habit into the space occupied by a bad one.

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When Disaster Strikes What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

When Disaster Strikes: What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag

Atlantic hurricane season is a good reminder that everyone should prepare this potentially lifesaving kit

By Consumer ReportsLast updated: July 05, 2021

A well-stocked Medication Go Bag can be used to soothe a cut or burn—or to save your life during a hurricane, flood, fire, or other emergencies.  

But it’s important not to wait until you’re faced with the need to leave your home in a hurry to assemble your medication go bag, says Geoffrey C. Wall, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Whether you buy a kit from a drugstore or build it yourself, Wall recommends that all households keep a medication go bag on hand. It should contain the essentials, including: 

  • At least seven days’ worth of over-the-counter and prescription medications you take on a regular basis. Label the containers clearly, and include a printed-out list of everything you take and the regimen for each medication, plus a copy of your health insurance card (in case you need medical care while you’re away from your home).
  • An antihistamine for allergic reactions, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy and generic) or loratadine (Claritin and generic).
  • Pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and generic), or naproxen (Aleve and generic).
  • Stomach and antidiarrheal remedies, including loperamide (Imodium and generic) and bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, and generic).
  • An antacid for heartburn, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, or generic.
  • Antiseptic wipes; an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin, Bacitracin Plus, Curad, or generic (use only for infected wounds); and bandages, gauze, and tape, for treating burns, cuts, and wounds.
  • Mosquito repellent to prevent bites, and aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or calamine lotion to soothe bites and skin irritation.
  • An eyewash solution for flushing out eye irritants.
  • Water-purification tablets.
  • Scissors.
  • Thermometer.
  • Tweezers.

If you and your family have special medical needs, you can build a more sophisticated medication go bag—for example, one that contains hearing aids with extra batteries, an epinephrine auto-injector, glasses, contact lenses, or syringes.

Fill Prescriptions in Advance

For prescriptions, you and your family members take, consider asking your doctor for 60- or 90-day refills rather than a month’s worth. That way, you’re more likely to have extras on hand for your medication go bag. (This can also save you money.)

Always fill prescriptions on the first day you become eligible for a refill, rather than waiting until the day you run out. If you are able to obtain an emergency supply, establish a plan for rotating your go-bag supply so that it remains up to date. And remember to check medications periodically to ensure that they have not expired.

“During an emergency, some states allow pharmacists to dispense an emergency supply of medications without doctor authorization,” Wall says. But, he adds, “certainly if a known potential disaster, such as a hurricane, is predicted, make sure you have prescription meds and supplies before it hits.”

You might also ask your health insurance company to assist you in obtaining enough medication and supplies to have on hand.

Storing and Maintaining Your Kit

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