We hear about natural disasters such as hurricanes and cyclones in different parts of the world that made me wonder about my personal emergency preparedness in the face of a snowstorm leaving me home bound for a few days or stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Disaster readiness need not be a preparation for every low probability event that might (or might not) happen but it is still judicious to have a basic survival kit at home and in the vehicle. It is also important to watch for expiry dates of relevant items and replace them when the kit has not found use for a while (which is what one may wish for). Lets take a look at some of the basic items that go into an emergency survival kit.
The Home Survival Kit
Typically, a 3-day survival kit should help in most emergencies. Following is a list of items that would be needed for a basic kit.
Water. Four liters per person per day (for drinking and washing; proportion used for each may vary by individual). It is important to replace the water in the kit with a fresh supply at least every year.
Food. Non-perishable items for each person in the family. Best foods are those that require no preparation, cooking (needs energy and water – both of which would be at a premium in the hour of need) or refrigeration and are small for easy storage. In addition, it is essential to choose foods after considering any applicable dietary restrictions and ones that family members will actually eat.
Typical foods for the kit are ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, trail mixes, cereals, protein bars, peanut butter, vitamin tablets, canned juices, honey, dried milk and crackers. As with water, expiry dates are to be kept an eye on and foods replaced when needed. For pet owners, their pet’s food would need to be included.
First aid. Building a first aid kit can become a complex matter if one considers the possibility of major injuries such as burns and fractures. However, for minor injuries such as lacerations, blisters, bites, etc., survivopedia has ideas.
Miscellaneous items. Evidently, there are many small items that need to be part of a kit. They include the following:
- Sleeping bag or blanket for each family member;
- Hand sanitizer;
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight and radio with extra batteries;
- Extra keys, for house and car;
- Medications, if applicable;
- Candles and matchsticks;
- Can opener;
- Cash in small bills;
- Personal hygiene items;
- Garbage bags and twist ties;
- Toilet paper;
- Duct tape;
- Change of clothing for each person; and,
- Copies of important documents.
Although it is not difficult to build an emergency survival kit, some people may prefer to buy a ready-made kit available in stores. If you prefer to go that route, Costco offers a 4-person 3-day kit for around $150, while Walmart has a 1-person 3-day offering.
The Vehicle Survival Kit
Being stranded in a vehicle during a storm requires a separate kit to handle the inclement weather conditions. Such a kit would include:
- Non-perishable foods;
- Sleeping bag or blanket or at least ski pants;
- Extra clothing, gloves, socks and shoes;
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight with extra batteries;
- Ice scraper;
- Salt, sand or kitty litter;
- Booster cable;
- Maps (the paper kind); and,
Do you have an emergency kit at home and in your vehicle? If so, do you have any item not part of the two lists above? Any tips for people putting together a kit?