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Emergency Kits

  • Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Kits

    What is an Emergency Kit?

    emergency kitAn emergency kit, according to Ready.gov, is “simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.” Many of the items found in your personal emergency kit may vary from person to person (due to personal circumstances), but the majority should remain constant.

    Emergency kits are your bread and butter during times of disaster and other crises. Everything inside should help you get through whatever disaster comes your way. Of course, all disasters come with different challenges, but the basic necessities will always remain unchanged. Which brings us to the next question…

     

    What Should an Emergency Kit Contain?

    Keep what you need to survive. What do you need in an emergency? The obvious answers are food and water. But that’s just the beginning. With more gear and tools, you will have a much easier time getting through your crisis.

    The following list is what Ready.gov recommends you have in your emergency kit (and should last you for at least three days):

    • Emergency KitWater
    • Food
    • Radio
    • Flashlight
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle
    • Dust mask
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags
    • Wrench or pliers
    • Can opener
    • Maps
    • Cell phone charger, inverter, or solar charger

     

    All these items serve an important purpose for not just survival, but obtaining whatever comforts you can when everything else is out of reach. Whistles are essential for calling for help without wasting too much energy. Moist towelettes can be used for sanitary needs. Food for eating. Water for drinking. Well, you get the idea. Everything in your kit should help you succeed during a disaster.

     

    What Should You Do With Your Kit?

    Emergency kits are to be used in the event of an emergency (as the name implies). That means it must be ready when an emergency happens. If your kit has sat unused for years, there’s a chance some of the items won’t be usable when the time comes.

    Flashlight batteries could be dead, food could be old and bad, and other things could be wrong with the contents if you haven’t looked through it in a while. Ideally, you should be checking your emergency kits every six months, rotating your food, water, and other gear when necessary.

     

    Keep it Handy

    It would be great if we could plan when and where disasters strike. That way we would always be ready. But, as life would have it, controlling those outside factors just isn’t something we are able to do. Usually, disasters give us little or no warning, which means you’ll need to act fast when a crisis comes for a visit. And, since you never know where you’ll be when disaster strikes, it’s ideal to have an emergency kit in many different locations.

     

    Home

    You spend a lot of time at home. If nothing else, it’s where you sleep, and many disasters have been known to wait until the wee hours of the morning before making their presence known (i.e. tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.). Having an emergency kit at home is vital to your success, day or night.

    Speaking of night, it’s never so dark as when the power’s out and you’re looking for your gear. That’s one reason why it’s imperative to store your emergency kit in an easy to reach location. Likewise, disasters may force you from your home without a moment’s notice (much like those who fled the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta). When this happens, you grab what’s available and get out of there. By having your emergency kit in a handy, easy to reach location (such as your front closet), your emergency kit becomes your bug out bag, which will help you get through the next 72 hours of uncertainty.

     

    Vehicle

    Trunk Emergency Kit All these emergency items can pack up small for maximum trunk space.

    From mudslides in California to snowy roads in many other parts of the country, your road trip can take a turn for the worst without so much as a warning. Drivers have been stranded in their car for days, relying on whatever provisions they had for their road trip to see them through until help arrived. Usually, it’s just a few snacks, rather than anything substantial. By having an emergency kit in your vehicle, you can not only have the food and water needed for survival, but tools to help get your car unstuck and back on the road. At the very least, you can have ways to call or signal for help.

     

    Work

    Aside from your home, you spend quite a bit of time (too much, perhaps?) at the office. Find out what your business’s emergency contingency plan is. If they already have kits for their employees, great! But chances are you’re on your own in that regard. Put an emergency kit together to put in your locker, slide under your desk, or somewhere else it will fit.

     

    School

    Your kids deserve to be ready for anything, and you can help them. There are many instances in which your children may have use for a mini emergency kit, such as a school lock down, severe weather, bus accident, and more. Just like any kit, your children’s school emergency kits should have water, food, an emergency whistle, a first aid kit, and other essential items. Of course, this kit should be small, so as to fit in the bottom of your children’s backpacks. Additionally, have your children keep another emergency kit in their locker. This way, they can have larger items (such as an emergency blanket) already at the school should they need it. For more information, the Mom with a Prep blog discusses what each child’s emergency kit should contain, as well as why it’s necessary.

     

    Get Your Own Emergency Kit

    Now that you know more about emergency kits, the next step is to acquire one of your own. You can either make one yourself, buy a pre-assembled kit, or add to an already assembled kit with your own customizations and personalizations.

     

    Purchase a Pre-Assembled Emergency Kit

    We’ve put together a wide range of pre-assembled emergency kits, containing all the basics you need for various situations. Check out our line of emergency kits and get the one(s) that will best suit your needs. Once you have your kit, feel free to add to it. You might include personal documents, extra flashlights, and anything else feel you may need.

     

    Make Your Own

    If you already have everything you need for your kit, or you just want to use other products not in our pre-assembled kits, you can make your own easily by getting a backpack and filling it with all the supplies you need (see above for a list of important items). Or, you could make a hybrid by taking one of our kits and adding other items of your choosing.

     

    When emergencies strike, you’ll want some basic supplies to help keep yourself safe and healthy. Emergency kits, when properly packed with frequent rotations of items, are the ideal resource to help see you through those tough times. Keep them in your home, in your car, and at work and school. After all, you never know when or where a disaster will strike. But when you’re prepared, there’s nothing you can’t handle.

     

    Click here to shop our emergency kits.

     

    Emergency Kit with Box

  • Earthquake Survival Kit for People with Mobility Issues

    With just a week since the annual Great ShakeOut (when millions of people around the world practice Earthquake preparedness, especially how to drop, cover and hold on), and while these three tasks may seem simple for those of us who are able-bodied, they aren’t simple for people with mobility issues. The issue is that earthquake preparedness is substantially different when it comes to people with mobility issues, so let’s take the time to go through how people with disabilities should protect themselves during an earthquake.

    1 - Wheelchair - Mobility

     

    Earthquake Preparedness Differs for Disabled People

    Emergencies are never planned, so mobility problems, as well as other disabilities, including hearing loss, seeing disabilities or learning disabilities may further complicate an already grave situation. That’s precisely why you should plan in advance for any unforeseen event, such as an earthquake.

    Getting to safety, evacuating and conducting yourself during such a disaster differs greatly for disabled people. For one, you’ll have to ask yourself whether you have a manual wheelchair that can be used instead of your electric one.

    2 - Drop Cover Hold On - Mobility

    “I know you are supposed to drop, cover and hold on and things like that but if I drop on the floor, I'm not going to be able to get back up on my wheelchair,” Deserie Ortiz, a spinal cord injury sufferer explains.

    Knowing what you can and cannot do for yourself will help you better plan for such a situation. According to Red Cross guidelines, here’s what you need to do:

    • Have a personal support network (PSN): they must be in walking distance of your home, have access to your home and must be able to offer immediate assistance;
    • Assess your personal situation: are you able to move (even in a wheelchair) enough to eat and drink, do you need tub-transfer benches when showering, is your wheelchair electricity-dependent, is your building wheelchair friendly, are there exits nearby, do you use service animals and if yes, will you be able to care for your animal during such a disaster?
    • Make a plan that involves rendezvous points, contact people, a communications plan, escape routes, as well as a plan on how to take care of pets. Also, think about a possible evacuation: are there any safe locations nearby, are you able to get there and are they wheelchair accessible?
    • Have an earthquake survival kit ready.

     

    Assembling your Earthquake Survival Kit

    3 - Emergency Kit - Mobility

    Disaster experts recommend that you have at least seven days’ worth of supplies. Some components of your survival kit are standard and include:

    • Nonperishable food (packaged, dehydrated or canned food);
    • Sufficient water: as a general rule of thumb, aim for at least a gallon of water per person per day (you’ll have to account for pets);
    • First aid kit (including essential medications and the prescription medication you regularly take);
    • Sleeping bag;
    • Blankets;
    • Manual can opener;
    • A flashlight (with extra batteries), a battery powered radio, a multi-purpose tool;
    • A great quality knife and a knife sharpener as knife blades tend to get dull;
    • Copies of personal documents, including birth certificates, insurance policies, home lease, passports, medication list, medical device information (for pacemakers for instance);
    • Cash;
    • A map of the area;
    • Warm clothing including sturdy shoes and rain gear;
    • Toiletries and hygiene items;
    • Water purification kit (if your water runs out);
    • A face mask.

    This survival kit will contain additional items, as needed:

    • Batteries for your wheelchair;
    • A manual wheelchair (if you own one);
    • Food and water for your service animal (and medication if required);
    • Brands and serial numbers for your equipment and medical devices;

     

    What to do During an Earthquake

    For those who are confined to a wheelchair, identify a safe spot inside your house (ideally, a doorway or a corner). Get to that particular safe spot, lock your wheels, cover your head with your arms and wait for the shaking to stop. If there’s no possibility of seeking shelter, protect yourself with your arms, pillows, or blankets and wait for the earthquake to stop.

    After the shaking has stopped, check whether you are injured, then try to call for help or get in contact with your PSN. Be aware though, that aftershocks may occur so remain aware and stay in safe spaces. If necessary, evacuate the building. Here’s an exhaustive guide on how to prepare for, conduct yourself during, and resume your life after an earthquake.

     

    Do you have mobility issues? What are some ways you prepare?

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - Mobility

  • Why You Should Use Essential Oils in Emergencies

    A friend of mine carries 10 essential oils in her purse for emergencies. When she travels, she takes a dozen or more.

    Emergency Essentials now sells essential oils. Here are a few that could be useful in a first aid kit.

     

    Lavender

    Essential Oils LavenderOne day this summer, when my special needs daughter had lost her temper and was screaming on the ground in a full-blown meltdown, Cherylee, another friend who knows essential oils, suggested I try lavender essential oil.

    Lavender was a logical suggestion. Although the evidence is limited, some clinical studies suggest patients waiting for surgery seemed calmer if they inhaled lavender through aromatherapy than those who used other calming methods, according to a 2014 literature review in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    It may also be good for skin.

    Cherylee said she used some this summer when her daughter went outside without sunscreen. She believes it helped soothe her daughter’s skin irritation.

    “I use it on all my kids’ little scrapes and burns,” she said.

    A few cautions: Lavender essential oil can cause irritation if applied directly to the skin and is poisonous if swallowed, according to Homesteading, a 2009 book edited by Abigail Gehring.

    Also, watch out for products labeled “lavender scented.” They don’t contain real lavender.

     

    Peppermint

    Bottle of Peppermint essential oils

    Peppermint oil is one of the oldest European medicinal herbs. Its main active ingredient is menthol – that nasty-tasting ingredient in mouthwash and throat lozenges. It’s been used for many years as a traditional medicine to treat stomach pain.

    Peppermint oil has some of the most reliable evidence suggesting it could be effective for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome, according to a 2014 review in the journal Digestion.

    Cherylee uses peppermint to help her muscles cool off after a workout. She also uses it for occasional head pain.

    For tension headaches, patients in a study cited by WebMD applied 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution across their forehead and temples then repeated the process after 15 and 30 minutes.

    Don’t use too much, though. Peppermint oil is considered fairly safe in small doses but can have side effects of allergic reaction and heartburn, according to Homesteading.

     

    Tea tree (Melaleuca)

    Melaleuca Essential OilsCherylee said tea tree oil has “limitless applications.”

    The chemicals in tea tree may have antifungal properties. One study mentioned in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found a 10 percent tea tree oil cream worked about as well as over the counter athlete’s foot cream (tolnaftate 1%) to relieve symptoms of athlete’s foot. It didn’t cure the infection, though. Researchers found a 100 percent tea tree solution used twice daily for six months decreased toenail fungus in 60 percent of patients.

    “I’ve used this for occasional ear irritation, for minor skin irritation,” Cherylee said.

    Don’t take tea tree oil by mouth. It’s likely unsafe, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also be mildly irritating to skin and cause an allergic skin reaction in some people.

     

    Frankincense

    Frankincense Essential OilsFrankincense is Cherylee’s favorite oil for emergencies.

    “I’d use this any day over any oil. When in doubt, I use it,” she said. “It will help the body take care of itself at any level.”

    Even though frankincense has been in use for thousands of years, we still don’t have that much information about it or how it works, according to WebMD.

    It’s made from hardened sap of a type of tree from the genus Boswellia. When tested in labs, components from sap extracts might have anti-inflammatory properties, according to an overview in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    Cherylee also feels frankincense, when mixed with other essential oils, helps enhance their effects.

    Since there’s not that much known about frankincense, WebMD recommends you always follow package directions and talk to a health care professional before using it.

     

    Essential OilsThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration identifies three ways to use essential oils for the body: internally as a dietary supplement, topically and aromatically.

    Elementa Essentials, the company that makes the oil sold on this site, does not recommend using any of its products internally without a doctor’s approval.

    It advises caution for any type of application if you’re pregnant, on medication or have sensitive skin.

    Don’t apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. Put 3-10 drops in an ounce of vegetable oil or lotion. Oils need to be as pure as possible.

    Cherylee dilutes her essential oils in fractionated coconut oil, a coconut oil from which one type of fat has been removed.

    “It’s not oily and it help(s) the skin absorb the essential oil better,” she wrote.

    Aromatically means using a diffuser to spray a diluted oil mixture into a room. Diffusers are available at many retailers.

    However you use essential oils, be careful and consult an expert first.

    “Treat essential oils with the same care that you treat medicines,” said an article in AromaWeb.

    - Melissa

    Sources

    Gehring, Abigail R. (2009-11-01). Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides) (Kindle Locations 2-3). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Trinkley KENahata MC, “Medication management of irritable bowel syndrome.” Digestion. 2014;89(4):253-67. doi: 10.1159/000362405. Epub 2014 Jul 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24992947

    Stea, Susanna, Beraudi, Alina, and De Pasquale, Dalila, “Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 726341, 6 pages
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/726341

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