You never know when a natural disaster will strike or an accident will occur. When it does, you likely won’t have time to get your supplies and you’ll be stuck wondering why you never took the time to put an emergency kit together. You must take the time to prepare by putting together a survival kit beforehand. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re left wondering what if. 

Many Americans take emergency preparedness for granted and are completely  un- or under-prepared. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 44% of Americans do not have first aid kits, while 48% do not have any emergency supplies. 

So what is an emergency kit and what does it consist of? An emergency kit is a pre-packed set of supplies that are ready to grab and go at any moment’s notice. Generally speaking, many of the items in this survival kit will remain consistent. However, kits can vary from location to location. Depending on the type of disasters more common to the area you live in.  

What might be necessary for one location may not be necessary in another. For instance, if you’re someone who lives in a cold climate and is worried about having to leave your home during a blizzard, you may have cold-weather essentials in your kit. Someone in California preparing for an earthquake probably wouldn’t be worried about having a sleeping bag rated for freezing temperatures. 

According to professionals and government officials,  you should have, at a minimum enough materials to last at least three days. This goes per member of your family. You want to have an emergency disaster kit ready because you never know when disaster might strike and things quickly escalate and become chaotic. You may lose connection with the outside world. You may lose electricity. Cell phone towers may go down, making it tougher to receive notices from local officials. In the case of an emergency, you may be forced to act in a matter of minutes. So it’s best to be as prepared as you can be.

You never know when an emergency kit will come in handy. You should always be prepared, for instances such as:

  • Weather weather causing events, such as hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, and earthquakes 
  • Home-related incidents such as a fire 
  • Situations where you’re outdoors for extended periods, such as a hiking or camping trip 
  • Even just everyday occurrences such as burns, cuts and scrapes

Your kit should be pre-packed in something that is easy to grab and go.

Before you start building your emergency kit, you should sit with your whole family and loved ones to start discussing an emergency action plan. Make sure everyone is aware of the emergency kit and are aware of what to do in case of an emergency. You can never be too prepared. 

Once you come up with an emergency plan with your family, you’ll want to discuss what you will need to have in your emergency kit. No matter where you are, you’re going to want to make sure that you have these items. This is a pretty extensive list so pick out the things that will best serve your situation and disaster you’re preparing for:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day. Plan on enough for at least three days)
  • Non-perishable food (at least a three-day supply)
  • A can opener
  • Mess kits (or disposable plates, cups, and utensils)
  • Dish soap
  • Trash bags
  • A first aid kit
  • A first aid book
  • Prescription medication and basic over-the-counter medicines (antihistamine, acetaminophen, etc.)
  • A flashlight
  • A radio (battery-powered or hand-crank)
  • Batteries
  • Matches (waterproof or in a waterproof container)
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • A whistle
  • Flares
  • Bedding (sleeping bags or warm blankets)
  • An extra change of clothes and shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, etc.)
  • Basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, wrench, crowbar)
  • A shut-off wrench (to shut off the gas or water supply)
  • Plastic tarps/sheeting, a staple gun, nails, screws, bungee cords, rope, duct tape (for securing your home)
  • A pocket knife
  • Scissors
  • Chlorine bleach and an eyedropper (to disinfect* or treat water).
  • Water filter straws
  • Water treatment tablets
  • Dust or surgical masks (to protect against storm debris)
  • Plastic freezer bags (to keep things dry)
  • Cash (small bills and change)
  • ID
  • Copies of important documents (insurance cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, bank account info)
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Paper, a pen, and a permanent marker
  • A cell phone and a charger
  • A backpack or duffel bag to carry everything (one per family member). Water-proof is best

Other Kit Tips To Consider:

  • Include food and extra water for your pets
  • If you have a baby, include diapers, wipes, formula, etc.
  • Be sure to factor in the needs of any seniors, pregnant, or nursing moms or special needs individuals in your household.
  • Consider adding a few small toys or books to entertain and comfort children.
  • Place everything in a plastic bin (or waterproof container) to ensure your supplies stay dry.
  • Store your kit in a cool, dry location that is easily accessible. Make sure everyone in your home knows where it is.

Build an emergency kit that will best suit your family and the situation and event you’re preparing for. Remember, you can’t ever be too prepared or over prepared. As long as you have a plan in place and have an emergency kit you should be well prepared. Your emergency kit doesn’t have to be this extensive, just the items you feel are essential will do. We never want it to happen but i hope you’re ready when or if disaster does strike!!!