Do you have a basic emergency kit? Governments around the world are encouraging their citizens to be prepared in light of more frequent disasters, both natural and man-made (Germany, Russia). Your basic kit should include everything you need to ensure your survival for several days or until help arrives.
One of the first things that will get you into trouble in any type of disaster or emergency is dehydration. Make sure you have safe drinking water for several days stored. A good alternative or addition is a small water filtration system you can use on unsafe water sources to extend drinking water. I have the Sawyer portable water filter. It can filter up to a 100,000 gallons of water and includes a cleaning plunger to periodically clean off the filter.
Food and Accessories
Next, it’s good to have at least some emergency food rations. This is particularly important if you have small children, pregnant or nursing women, elderly, or anyone with diabetes or low blood sugar in your family. They can make it even fewer days or hours with food than you can. Keep some easy, ready to eat food on hand like granola bars, nuts, and canned foods. Make sure you have any tools or accessories you need to open the food containers and utensils to eat with. Manual can openers can be super cheap. I suggest keeping 2 of the really cheap ones in your evacuation bin just in case one breaks.
Focus on food items that won’t perish quickly and that can be eaten cold in a pinch. Chances are power will be out and you’ll have no way to cook or heat the food you’ll be eating. Something like these S.O.S. Rations emergency bars would be good. They’re compact, have a lot of calories, and will help keep you alive until you can get to something better (note: doesn’t taste like candy, if you know what I mean).
Radio, Flash Light, and Cellphone
Next, let’s talk about small electronics, or electric, hand-cranked devices. You want to be able to get the information you need and see where you’re going. A good flashlight with long battery life is a must, as is a small weather radio. This can be battery operated or hand-cranked. I previously mentioned this battery- and ac-powered weather radio that we have. We’ve had it since 2012 and have not had any problems with it. If you’re using battery operated devices having a spare set of batteries in your kit is always a good idea.
Last but not least, when disaster strikes, grab your phone and charger, if possible. You want to be able to get in touch with loved once as soon as possible. I recommend also keeping a paper copy of your contact list in your evacuation bin.
First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit that includes bandages, alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, scissors, and some basic pain medicine is another must have. Make sure it also includes any medication you take regularly. If you have family members with severe allergies, antihistamines or even an epi-pen may be an important and potentially life-saving addition. You can start with a commercial kit and then build on it according to your family’s needs.
There are various tools that may come in handy in an emergency. A good knife is a must and can come in handy in a variety of different ways. A wrench or pair of pliers is handy if you need to turn of utilities in an emergency. A multi-tool can have myriad uses. Last but not least, consider adding a whistle and flashing light or emergency flares to your tool kit so you are able to alert rescuers to your location.
Also include a few days worth of clothes and basic hygiene items for each family member. Remember to change these clothes out seasonally and as sizes change!
You may not be able to get everything right away, but getting anything is better than getting nothing!
PS. I have the bin in the featured image. It’s 27 gallons, professional grade and you can find it here.