Be prepared for any Emergency
Having a grab-and-go kit is essential for evacuations. If you must leave your home, you may have to do so suddenly, leaving you without much time to rummage through your camping gear for what you’ll need. Remember, emergency kits are not cookie cutters. Each one should be personalized to fit the needs of the member it is intended for, which means in order to have an effective kit, you will have to plan ahead.
To get you started, take a look at the following categories and pull something together from each one. Then, continue adding on until you have created a kit you feel comfortable with. Another option is to start with a premade emergency kit and then add in additional items as you see fit. If you choose to build your own, cover at least the following categories for basic survival: water, food, first aid, shelter, fire/warmth, communications, and stress relief.
The saying goes, “You can live 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air.” Although not 100% accurate, this is still a great rule of thumb. Water is heavy to carry (8 pounds per gallon), but so important. Consider having purification with you as well as some clean water in bottles, pouches, or other small containers.
There are lots of available food options for emergency kits. Calorie bars are ready to eat, lightweight, but not very filling. MREs (Military Meals Ready to Eat) don’t need to be cooked and will certainly curb your hunger, although they do tend to be on the heavy end. Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, is lightweight, even for a full-fledged meal. The downside is that it requires extra water for cooking. However, if you have water filtration or extra water available, freeze-dried food is an excellent choice.
Gather important medical supplies, such as bandages, tape, ointment, and other necessities. If you are able, it is also a good idea to be trained in emergency techniques, such as CPR.
Keeping yourself clear of the elements can be a life saver. Too much sun, rain, snow, or wind can, at the very least, make your survival experience very unpleasant. Some forms of shelter can fit nicely inside your emergency kit, such as ponchos and tarps. However, if you’re planning on bugging out for a long while, keep your tent and sleeping bags near your emergency kit so when you’re running out the door, you’ll remember to bring those with you, too.
Whether it’s a power outage or a chilly winter night, there is always a need for warmth, whether you’re forced to leave your home or not. Hand warmers, reflectors that keep in body heat, and other small gear can make a world of difference.
Likewise, fire is a traditional – and effective – resource in keeping warm. Use fire for other things, including cooking, boiling water for purification, send out distress signals, and even boost your spirits. Consider keeping fire starter in your emergency kit, because you never know when you’ll need to light one.
Despite never planning on getting lost, it can still happen. This is why you should always have some sort of signal in your emergency kit, such as light sticks, a whistle, or a mirror. Communications is also important in learning what is happening during and following a disaster. A small, battery-powered emergency radio allows you to tune into your local emergency alert station so you can stay up to date on important information, including warnings, evacuations, and more.
There’s no doubt about it—emergencies can be stressful. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it get to you. Pack items that are known to bring you happiness and relieve stress. Your favorite book, board game, deck of cards, or sketch pad are just some ideas. Sweets and other non-perishable foods you love can also help relieve stress. While it’s important not to take up the space for other essential items, these personal stress relievers can make any situation much more bearable.
Safely store copies of important documents, such as insurance policy, contact numbers, drivers and marriage licenses, among other things, just in case those don’t make it through whatever disaster is happening. Likewise, add pictures of your loved ones so if you get separated, you can use those images to have others help you be reunited. Also important are your medications, glasses, and other medical necessities that apply to you and your family. Many times emergencies happen so quickly, those are the first to be forgotten in the rush.
If possible, have an emergency kit in multiple locations, such as your home, car, and place of work. Emergencies happen at any time, anywhere, so being prepared in the locations you frequent will help you stay safe.
There are even multiple ways to keep your kit. Backpacks work great for keeping your hands free and are easy to carry on your back, but the downside is they won’t hold bulky items. Rolling bags are useful for carrying heavier and bulkier items, but if you’re going through rough terrain, they will prove to be rather difficult to maneuver. Buckets can hold a lot of gear, but they can also become heavy and are difficult to transport if you’re on foot.
Whatever you end up choosing for your kits, they need to be kept in one easily accessible location, you may not have time to assemble it when a disaster arrives!