A survival kit is a collection of supplies which have been prepared to aid in the survival of a disaster or emergency situation such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. A good survival kit contains tools to provide the basic survival necessities such as shelter, food, water, and first aid.
There a few types of survival kits; stashes, mini-kits and bug-out kit. A stash is a large collection of horded food and supplies usually set up for long term use under siege situations. Mini kits hold basic supplies and are designed to fit in small places such as a motor vehicle. Bug-out kits or Bug Out Bags (BOBs) are portable survival kits also known as “Personal Emergency Relocation Kits”; these are used for quick escape and survival for a few days. BOBs usually also contain tools that aid in gathering resources for more prolonged times after limited supplies run out.
Before creating an emergency survival kit or kits you must ask yourself a few questions: What type of kit should I make? How many people will I be providing for? Where should I keep my kit? How much food and water do need? Where would I go under extreme conditions? First… Look at your surroundings. If an event were to happen right now are you in a safe location? This is a great deciding factor for preparing your kit. Think of any situation that could happen and consider preparation for the most probable dangers. What will you need in your kit? Every situation is different for everyone and kits can be modified for specific purposes.
Location matters, it might be smart to keep smaller emergency survival kits in your car or at work. Also you might want to keep different styles of kits depending on your location, for example: If you live in the mountains away from large populations in a fairly secure home you might consider keeping a long term stash. On the other hand if you live in an inner city location in a not so secure home you might want to rely more on a light bug-out kit to get you to a safer location.
Before specializing in any type of specific survival kit for emergency situations it is important to know what items are needed for basic survival. To set up a good survival kit foundation you should know what the most fundamental items needed in almost all disaster situations are.
Here is a list from the homeland security website;
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kits:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book survival manuals
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels-Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
These items are great for a basic kit. Creating a survival kit with these supplies would be great for smaller emergencies. These are usually a low grade event and everything is usually controlled and back to normal after a few days.
In larger event, the situation gets dramatically worse. It is unlikely that a small survival kit is enough to handle a large event.