The old adage applies, “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Whether it is for yourself or your loved ones, being prepared is the cheapest insurance plan you will find. 30 things you should have in your emergency preparedness kit:
1. First Aid Kit and Medication
Lets make this one easy. Just get a home first aid kit to have set aside. There are any number of things you can add to it, but for now just add any prescription medications that are needed.
There is no such thing as having too much clean water. Plan on a minimum of 2 gallons of water per person per day. One for consumption; one for hygiene. Set aside enough water for three days. Tossing in a means of purifying water to refill your container(s) isn’t a bad idea. Iodine tablets may taste the worst, but are the cheapest and easiest.
3. High Energy, No Cook Food
There are lot of choices here. The easiest to find will be freeze dried camping food. MRE’s are another great choice. If you want to get items of the grocery shelf start with peanut butter, tuna in oil, granola bars. Just remember: 1) Get foods everyone will eat. 2) Aim for a minimum of 1,000 calories a day.
4. Personal Hygiene Kit
Keep this light. Extra tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, baby powder, wet wipes, hand soap, antibacterial hand gel. We want to stay clean not get primped for a night on the town.
5. Emergency Radio
Any battery operated radio will do, but a good emergency radio will pick up NOAA weather reports, have a built in flash light, recharge by crank, and come with any number of other bells and whistles.
6. The Bag
I recommend a water proof duffel bag. We want something big enough to hold everything, but still be able to move it around (Your container of water will not fit so make sure it has a handle.)
There is a saying, “Cash is king.” It is hard to say how much to have on hand… Just remember you might have to buy something and in an emergency you can’t count on ATMs, credit card, or checks.
8. Shamwow!The are some competitors to the sham-wow and they will do just as well. I just recommend these over having a normal towel. They absorb wonderfully, are light, dry out quick, and are reusable.
9. Copy of Personal Papers
Just go ahead and have copies of all important papers, birth certificates, pass ports, passwords, account numbers, what ever you might need to get your hands on.
10. Change of Clothes
Imagine, if you will, you are going to go camping or going to do intensive yard work in the early spring or late fall. This will give you a change of clothes if you get dirty or more suitable clothes to change into if you are caught off guard and find yourself in a nice business suit during an emergency.
11. Field Knife
We don’t need a machete, just a stout 3 – 4 inch fixed blade. You don’t have to spend a fortune either. A knife is a remarkable useful tool.
12. Matches / Fire Starter
Strike anywhere matches with striking strip (just makes things easier) in a water proof container are the best bet. If you are not used to building fires a good fire starter isn’t a bad idea either. Throw in a lighter as back up.
13. Emergency Preparedness Guide Book
The are more books on this subject than you can imagine… I know I have read many of them. Pick the one you like but this book has a little over everything in it: The Big Book of Self-Reliant Living: Advice and Information on Just About Everything You Need to Know to Live on Planet Earth.
14. Duct Tape
Come on… you all knew it was coming…
15. Supplies for your Pets
Don’t forget your pets, they are family too! Keep it simple and grab the necessities.
16. Tube Tent
You don’t have to go crazy with this. A cheap, LIGHT, tent that everyone can pack into like sardines is all you need for you emergency kit.
17. Tin Cup
What you want is a large metal cup for each person. You can drink water with it, hold soup in it, put it over a small fire. (Can we say instant coffee!) You want either tin or steal… avoid plastic and aluminum.
18. Deck of Cards
There is a good chance you will have some time on your hands while you wait for the power to come back on, wait in line for supplies, kill time are a disaster relief center, or just can’t sleep worrying about things. Cards not your thing… replace if needed.
19. Insect Repellent
If you need to bust your kit out in the summer and your are outside, this is a no brainer.
20. Sleeping Bags/ Blanket / Emergency Blanket
This one is a little tricky on the space issue. Sleeping bags are great, but take up a lot of space. Blankets can pose the same problem. If you don’t have the space just get an emergency blanket for each person. They are designed to reflect body and fold up to about the size of a cell phone. If they tear pull out the duct tape.
Pliers, knife, screw driver, scissors, can opener and more. Personally I am very impressed with Gerber knifes. I have owned many of their produces over the years. As for their multi tools they are ergonomic and reliable.
22. Flash Light / With Extra Batteries
Get the head lamp. You may look goofy with it on your head, but having two free hands and being able to see what you are doing is indispensable. Plus you can hold the head lamp in your hand.
23. 72 Hour Candle
You want one of the big ones that comes in glass or plastic. These can bepose handy, a little light burning in the dark can provide a good deal of relief; there are no batteries to wear out; if you light the candle before you light a fire you don’t have to worry about running out of matches. As an added bonus, if they get tipped over they tend to go out.
24. Pen and Paper
You may have to make note of something or leave a note for somebody. If you need more fire starters tear out some paper.
If you are on the road it is good to know where you are going and what is around you. Don’t rely on a GPS. For the compass, it helps to know which way is North
26. Zip Lock Bags
Get the gallon size freezer bags. You can organize your emergency kit and keep items water proof. (Yes we put things in a water proof bag, but as any camper or hiker will tell you… things leak.)
I actually recommend two of these. One for fuel and one for water. There are different kinds, but I recommend a self priming siphon. It is basically a tube with a ball valve on it.
Sometimes you don’t have time to put on a spare tire.
29. Jumper Cables
Sometimes you need a jump. Keep it simple, look for a road kit that has #28 and #29 in it.
30. Self Defence
This one is probably the most complex and invokes the most emotion. 1) The purpose of your emergency kit is to keep you and those you care about safe… you need some type of protection. 2) Nothing beats a gun… what type and what misgiving you have about owning a fire arm are complex questions, but statistical… nothing beats a gun. 3) If you are not going to get a gun find another option. Unless you are a trainer Filipino knife fighter, don’t trust your safety to your field knife (#11 above). Get pepper spray, a stun gun, or some other type of tool designed specifically for neutralizing a threat be it a person or animal.
Rule 1: What goes in the Bug-Out-Bag Stays in the Bug-Out-Bag… You want your bag stock so you can grab and go!
Rule 2: Don’t stress yourself! Start by taking this list to Wal-mart you will be able to get almost everything you need there. Fill in the blanks after that.
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