Natural disasters and emergencies don’t discriminate. No matter who you are or where you live, every household should have a basic survival kit. If you’ve decided to build your own survival kit, you will be rewarded with peace of mind. The items you’ll need to have in your survival kit are easy to find and inexpensive.
One excellent way to start building your kit is by purchasing a pre-made kit like one of these. Then you can supply your survival kit with items needed for you and your family. Take into consideration the number of family members, their ages, and their health needs. These kits come in sturdy, waterproof bags. One idea is to store the contents of your purchased kit in an accessible location and use the bag as a bug-out bag containing other items. Through this, you’ll be always ready when you have to evacuate.
Food and Water
Start building your survival kit with the necessities—food and water supply. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other emergency preparedness agencies recommend stocking enough food and water for at least 72 hours. Keep in mind that humans can only survive for about three days without water. Plan on keeping a gallon for each family member.
This will cover both drinking and sanitation needs. However, it won’t cover enough water for cooking. Plan on stocking a supply for cooking should your water get shut off or become contaminated. You can opt for standard bottled water, emergency water pouches, or water purification tablets. Bottled water has a shelf life of two to three years, and water pouches and purification tablets will last for five years.
As for food, stock non-perishable food items like canned goods and other food with a long shelf life. You can also purchase emergency food bars. These bars come standard with most purchased survival kits. They typically have a shelf life of five years and can be replaced after they have expired. Whichever food and water options you choose for your emergency kit, be sure to check the expiration dates frequently and replenish as needed.
Items for Emergencies
You should have a few tools in your emergency supplies like a wrench or pliers to shut off utilities. And don’t leave out a manual can opener. Consider purchasing a multitool set for your kit. Similar to a Swiss army knife, these tools are designed to tackle a variety of jobs.
Flashlights and a battery-operated or crank radio are essential to your emergency kit. Make sure to have plenty of extra batteries. Other items for emergencies include waterproof matches, firestarters, mylar blankets, rain ponchos, dust masks, garbage bags, moist towelettes, and paper towels. Also, include a whistle and fire extinguisher.
It’s a good idea to keep copies of important documents like birth certificates and insurance policies in waterproof containers. A map of your local area can be helpful for evacuation in case your GPS doesn’t work.
It’s important to have a good first aid kit with items like bandages, antiseptics, and aspirin or ibuprofen. Add extra up-to-date prescription medicines for family members who need them. Have a spare pair of prescription glasses for those who might need them in case they lose or break theirs.
Pets and Babies
Households with babies should make sure to have extra diapers and powdered baby formula for infants who don’t eat solid foods yet. Replace the diapers with the appropriate size as babies grow. A new or unfamiliar toy or two is a good way to keep young children occupied during emergencies. Add a permanent marker inside your emergency kit. It’s a good idea to write your phone number in your children’s arms during a natural disaster should they get separated from you.
Don’t forget about your pets. Have enough pet food and water on hand for them to survive for at least 72 hours as well. If your pets aren’t microchipped, get that done soon. You’ll have a good chance to have your pets returned to you should they become lost during a natural disaster.