Tag Archives: emergency kits

  • Emergency Kits: What You Should Know Before You Buy

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    Picture of an emergency kit and survival items with the words "Emergency Kits: What You Should Know Before You Buy"

    Emergency Kits are a crucial part of your emergency preparedness and planning. So, let's talk about the things you need to know about emergency kits--and the questions you should ask yourself--before you start shopping.

    Things to be aware of:

    1. Items in your kit won’t all have the same expiration date. Some companies label their kits as having a 25 year shelf life. But some items in the kit will expire sooner, no matter the kit (especially if it contains food packed in pouches and First Aid wipes or ointments).
    2. Some people say that you should buy never buy a pre-made kit. But, in reality, it depends on what your specific needs are.
      • Pre-made kits can be comprehensive, useful, and can ultimately save you money. They also get you the things you need in one fell swoop--great for those of us who don't want to (or just won't) take the time to put a custom kit together ourselves.
      • Custom-building your kit, however, can be a great way to get exactly the items you want in the style, flavor, color, etc. you prefer. It can also be a great choice if you want to upgrade certain components.
    3. Some companies actually charge you MORE for putting individual items together into a kit. But Emergency Essentials' kits cost LESS than if you bought the individual components separately. As it should be.
    4. We have spent years working with experts and disaster victims to see exactly what items should go inside our kits. We've got the crucial gear you'll need to get through the first days of an emergency. And at the very best prices available. We [guarantee] it.
    5. Some kits do not account for the true calories per day for food in the kit for the amount of people it covers.
    6. We're transparent about our kits. We tell you the shelf life of certain items upon purchase so you know when to rotate them out of your kit.
    7. Make sure you purchase or build a kit that your children can “grow into.” Choose something that is flexible enough to meet their changing needs over a period of five years or longer. For example, if you have a newborn, don’t buy a tiny bag that’s only big enough for some formula, some diapers, and infant-sized clothes—otherwise you’ll have to develop or buy a new kit for them every 6-12 months!
    8. We won’t overcharge for an item that may not be name brand or top of the line, but which is still very good for serving your specific needs in an emergency.
      • If you only plan to use your emergency supplies in a short-lived emergency, lower-end items can work just fine.
      • If, however, you plan to use your emergency tools regularly, or you’re expecting a long-term crisis, then you may want to upgrade certain elements of your kit (multi-tools, knives, ponchos, etc.)

     

    Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy:

    1. How many people are you planning for?
    2. What's your budget?
    3. How much weight can each of you carry?
    4. What custom items need to go in each kit? (Consider special needs like injuries, age [infants, elderly], disabilities, etc.)
    5. Where do you plan on storing your kit? (Calorie food bars do well in cars or in hotter temperatures; MREs do better in cooler temperatures.)
    6. Is there enough water or water treatment supplies?
    7. Is the backpack of high quality? Will it be able to support the weight of your items without breaking? Will it be comfortable enough for you to wear if you have to evacuate on foot?
    8. What are your food preferences? And will the kit supply you with those needs? (if you are looking for more protein options or specific nutrients a kit with calorie food bars may not be for you)
    9. What sorts of weather conditions commonly happen in your area? If you live in a hotter climate, you may want cooling items like instant ice packs; you may want more warmth items if you live in a cooler area; add ponchos if rain or snow is common)
    10. Do you just want the kit as an "insurance policy," meaning you just want to have a kit and know that it's there? If so, you may be okay with all the supplies that come in a pre-made kit. You should still be aware of what’s included so you’re not surprised by or unfamiliar with the kit contents when it’s time to use them.
    11. Are you interested in using the components of your kit on a regular basis? In that case, it may be a good idea to upgrade some of the components (like a knife, multi-tool, or poncho).
    12. Want to assemble your own kit? You can either build your own from scratch or purchase the basic emergency kit and then add in the specific items you’re looking for.

     

    We offer emergency kits ranging from very basic to comprehensive. Check them out online, or give us a call (1-800-999-1863) and bounce ideas off of our Preparedness Experts. You can even make an appointment for a custom consultation by calling or clicking here.

    Posted In: Emergency Kits, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: survival gear, emergency kits

  • How to Build an Emergency Car Kit

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    As the seasons change we ought to be sure our car is prepared for them. Depending on your circumstances and location, your level of preparation may vary. You may need snow tires, new windshield wipers and fluid, anti-freeze, heater/air conditioner service, recommended scheduled tune-ups, etc. For everyone it should mean preparing your car for whatever could happen.

    When preparing your car it is wise to remember to make preparations also for your family. An emergency car kit is crucial for breakdowns and unusual weather conditions. It is always good to keep essential supplies in your car in case you get stranded for a few hours or even a few days.

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    What should I keep in my auto emergency kit? First, you want to make sure you have the basic essentials such as water, food, and warmth. After these basics are included, then you can add other necessities such as an emergency light, first aid items, tools and other accessories.

    Water:

    Drinkable water is of utmost importance. Most people can actually survive days without food, but your body will dehydrate without water, leading to organ failure and death. We take the abundance of water for granted when things are normal, but in an emergency it becomes critical. Water is also useful for washing wounds and for sanitation. Water can also be helpful if your car overheats. Because of the limited space in automobiles, storing water must be in small packages. Water is available in small drink boxes (8.45 oz.), in pouches (4.2 oz.) or a Deluxe Sanitation & Water Kit.

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    Food:

    If your car breaks down and you are many miles from any town or store, you will want to have food stored in your kit to make sure your body has enough energy. It is very difficult to keep food in your car because it is exposed to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and the food is likely to spoil. The best thing to store in your car is high Calorie Food Bars. These bars come in packages of 2400 calories and 3600 calories. They can be exposed to extreme temperatures. They have a tasty flavor that won’t leave you thirsty. The bar helps activate the salivary gland and reduce your demand on emergency water supplies. They also expand in your stomach so you feel full. Be careful that you don’t over-consume them because they are so high in calories.

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    Warmth:

    You may have plenty of food and water, but if you’re cold you’ll feel miserable. Especially in the winter, warmth is a must for an emergency car kit. If you get stranded on a desolate road or stuck in a snowstorm, you will be glad you have a source of warmth in your car. There are several options: 6 to 20 hour warm packs, wool blankets, emergency bags, and emergency blankets. Also, for shelter from the rain, include a poncho or other rain gear

    Warm packs are nice for quick, concentrated heat. You can put them in your pockets, shoes and gloves to stay warm.

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    Wool is one of nature’s warmest fibers. It provides warmth even when it’s wet. It is best to get a wool blend blanket because when synthetic fibers are added to it they provide softness, washability and durability.

    Emergency blankets and bags are lightweight and fold to pocket size. They’re made of a reflective material which reflects up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help keep you warm. Our company did an in-house test of the emergency bag. We sent a few employees and family members outside in an emergency bag. They got so warm they had to get out of the bag.

    A poncho is nice if you are in rain or other bad weather and need to go outside to change a tire or do other work on the car.

    Light:

    It’s important to always keep a flashlight in your emergency car kit. It comes in handy for all types of circumstances. Be sure to keep charged batteries in the flashlight so you aren’t left in the dark. The Innovative LED Lights have a much higher battery life than conventional flashlights and are essential for emergency car kits. Other lights that could be useful in your auto emergency kit are lightsticks, emergency candles with a wide base and waterproof matches.

    Lightsticks last for 12 hours and are safe for children. They are visible up to one mile away, and they are non-toxic and non-flammable.

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    Emergency candles or liquid paraffin candles are long-lasting, reusable, odorless and smokeless. A wide base adds stability which helps prevent accidental spills which is especially nice for the car. Also, be sure to keep waterproof matches in your emergency car kit so you can light it.

    First Aid Items:

    If injury occurs, every second counts because help may be hours or days away. A first aid kit allows you to assist with injuries until help arrives. Keep items such as pain relievers, sterile pads, alcohol prep pads, bandages, soap, gauze pads, and micropore tape. You may also want to include tissues, toilet paper, safety pins and ace bandages. All of these items will come in handy when you are in need of first aid on the road.

    Tools:

    Consider tools such as a multi-purpose knife or a collapsible shovel for your car. A shovel may come in handy if you are to get stuck in the snow or mud. A multi-purpose knife provides many different tools for you to work with in a time of need. A Samurai survival tool provides an axe, hammer, and pry tool all-in-one. A basic tool kit and a roll of duct tape are also good items to keep in your car.

    Other Accessories:

    Road flares may also be useful in your auto emergency kit, but they should only be used for a warning signal, and should NEVER be used for light. Once a road flare has been lit, make sure you set it on a non-flammable surface. The by-product from its fire drips to the ground and may cause a fire if it lands on flammable material such as grass or if there is a gas leak. Be careful because the fumes are extremely nauseous and must be used only in a well-ventilated area.

    There are several kinds of pre-packaged emergency car kits available on the market, or you can customize your own. If you are purchasing a prepacked kit remember that you may need to customize your kit according to your needs (medications, glasses, etc.) Keep your kit in a compact case so it fits easily in your trunk or under a seat.

    As you are preparing for the unknown, don’t forget to prepare your car with an emergency car kit. When that snowstorm causes you to be stranded from home, or if you get a flat tire, or your auto overheats far from any town, you will be grateful you took the time to think ahead. The more conveniences you include, the better your situation will be.

    Posted In: Emergency Kits, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: Car Preparedness, emergency kits

  • 72 Hour Food Planning

    A crisis or emergency is a high stress time for everyone. It is especially important to have high energy foods available during these times. Food that is high in calories (even empty calories) is recommended for these times. If you plan ahead, you can have meals that are not only high in energy, but also nutritious.

    You can live several days without food if you have water to drink, but you won’t be very comfortable when you are used to eating three meals a day plus snacks. Besides the nutritional benefit you gain from the food, there is also a positive psychological benefit of doing things the way you did before a disaster. Eating three meals a day will help make the stressful time seem more like normal.

    Food will probably be provided at an emergency shelter for you and your family, but government officials and relief agencies usually take 72 hours to get set up. You have the responsibility to be self reliant and plan your own meals for those three days. Foods that are lightweight, compact, and require little preparation are the most suitable for your 72 hour kit. Since an emergency situation is not the time to try out new and unusual foods that your family is unaccustomed to, you should try out your emergency foods before you need them. Whenever possible, stick to simple tastes that you are used to.

    Consider these possibilities:

    Stress Foods

    Foods that provide sugar energy and are comfort foods are good to pack in your 72 hour kits. These types of food include chocolate, hard candy, dry sugar cereal, fruit bars, etc. In high stress situations your body requires a higher caloric intake, not just nutrition. For those who can’t eat sugar, pack alternative high caloric food such as peanut butter, dried fruit, and sugar-free candy.

    Compressed Food Bars

    Compressed food bars include granola bars, trail bars, and high calorie food bars that are sealed for long term storage. These are lightweight, nutritious, and high in calories, making them a good choice for your 72 hour kit.

     

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    Survival Drink Mixes

    These types of drink mixes are high in protein, vitamin and mineral content, such as protein drinks, diet drinks, and survival drink mixes. These should be just-add-water-mixes, so you must remember to store extra water just for mixing these drinks. Remember that any diet drink mixes you include should be high in protein and not just for weight loss.

    FD-A520 Creamy Select Strawberry in glass copy

    Trail Mixes

    Trail mixes can be made of ingredients such as granola, raisins, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or chocolate chips. They are very tasty and full of energy and nutrition. You can make your own trail mix to accommodate your family’s taste, but be aware that it could become rancid if you try to store it for a long period of time. Storing trail mix in your refrigerator or freezer is a good way to preserve its shelf life.

    Dried Foods

    Dried foods, such as fruit and meat (jerky) are excellent additions to your 72 hour kit. They are tasty, nutritious and satisfying, and they can make up a part of a meal.

    Freeze-Dried Foods

    Freeze dried foods are probably the best tasting, most “normal” things you can pack in your 72 hour kit to supply you and your family with a “real” meal. They are lightweight and easy to prepare, but require extra water and some cooking. Plan ahead by storing the water that you need and a way to heat it.

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    Instant Soups, Meals, & Milk

    Instant soups and meals, (such as cup of noodles, cup of soup, and instant mashed potatoes) are a great way to supplement meals for three days. They are lightweight and easy to pack in your 72 hour kit. Instant milk is a good way to make sure you get the calcium you need. These items also require additional water to use.

    MRE’s (Meals ready to eat)

    MRE’s, designed for the military, are the easiest meals you can put in your 72 hour kit. They have an incredibly long shelf life (up to 10 years when stored at temperatures below 70 deg. F) which makes them an easy solution for a 72 hour kit. MRE’s also do not require cooking, water, or any preparation. For more information on MRE’s see the Insight article entitled MRE- Meals Ready to Eat.

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    Snack Foods

    Snack foods are an essential part of a 72 hour kit. If you eat snacks during normal times, you will want snacks during emergencies too. Plus snacks are a good way to help relieve the stress of emergency situations. You can store snack-packs of cheese and crackers, packages of crackers or nuts, or peanut butter snacks. MRE snacks are a good way to store snacks because they can be stored for 5 or more years and they taste good.

    For Babies or Toddlers

    If you have a nursing baby, you should pack formula in case you aren’t able to nurse because of shock or stress. Include both powdered formula and liquid formula in case water is not available to mix the powdered formula. Include baby food for an older baby or toddler. Instant cereal, fruits, and vegetables are a good choice. Remember to store extra water to reconstitute these items, and to update your 72 hour kit as your baby grows.

     

    Equipment and Utensils

    Sometimes when you are planning your food menu, you forget that you need certain utensils to cook and eat with. Essential cooking items include:

    •          small cooking pots

    •          spoons, forks, knives, (plastic or metal)

    •          Sierra cups (metal camping/backpacking cups that you can heat food in or drink from)

    •          mess kits or camp plates

    •          napkins or paper towels

    •          small, trial size of dish soap

    •          hot pad or wash cloth

    •          can opener

    •          waterproof matches or matches in waterproof container

    •          canned solid fuel and folding stove

    •          zip lock bags

    As you plan your 72 hour kit, you must also remember the little extras that make life more comfortable, such as: toilet paper, diapers, wipes, first aid kit, toothpaste, soap, razors, reading material, stress relieving games, and so forth. If you put a little planning into your 72 hour kit, you and your family won’t need to panic when an emergency occurs.

    Posted In: Emergency Kits, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency food, planning, emergency kits, food storage

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