Emergency Survival Kit: Do You Have One?

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The purpose of an emergency survival kit is to have necessities available in one place that could be transported to another location, or a storage of basic necessities in one location for an extended period of time during an emergency. Survival kits are called Bug-Out Bags (BOBs), Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERKs), and Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) kits. For transportable kits, only the basic necessities are included, and are based upon what emergencies you may encounter. Other survival kits are prepared in the event of emergencies occurring at home, when you would need to plan for an extended period of time, with no electricity or water available.

Shelter can be provided somewhat, by obtaining Mylar coated space blankets, to retain body heat, if you are out in the open. Ponchos, or garbage bags can provide wind or rain protection, and you will need waterproof matches and a catalytic heater with fuel. Signaling devices would include flares, whistles, LED flashlights with extra lithium batteries, laser pointers, a compass, lantern, and a survival manual. Tools that you may need are a swiss army knife, can opener, trash bags for waste material, candles, and a NOAA radio for updates on conditions, or evacuations.

Food should consist of canned foods, MREs, and high-energy food bars. For a more comprehensive supply storage, staples can be added such as flour, grains, salt, soda, oats, wheat, and powdered milk. These items should be rotated every three months, discarding expired supplies. Food should be kept in plastic containers, and in a cool, dry area. It is important that these supplies are readily available to all family members, and each member should be aware of the location. Do not forget pets, or other supplies such as baby formula, or diabetic foods. Water should be stored along with water purification tablets. Each person should have 1 gallon per day reserved. The rule is to have enough emergency supplies for at least three days.

First aid kits are critical, and should be kept in all vehicles, and in several places around the home. They should include sterile gloves, bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, knife, tweezers, antibiotic cream, antibacterial wipes, salt tablets to prevent dehydration, mineral supplements, sunscreen, dust masks, and non-prescription medication for pain relief and diarrhea. A family medical history should be included, with a month’s supply of prescription medication any family member is taking. Epinephrine and antihistamine should also be included for any allergic reactions. Each first aid kit should also contain a first aid manual to refer to, in case of emergency.

Sometimes emergency survival kits can be emergency specific, and contain fewer items. If you decide to prepare a more comprehensive emergency survival kit, everyone in the family needs to contribute to the list, know what is there, and how to use it. A small, portable survival kit needs to be centrally located however, in case you are to be evacuated, and cannot take shelved goods with you. Emergency planning is most important in deciding the what, and where of your survival kits. An emergency survival kit is a group effort, and everyone in the family needs to know what it is for, where it is, and how it is to be used.