Disasters can happen at any time and often without warning.
September is National Preparedness Month and it is a time to review ways to stay safe during an emergency. It creates a space for us, as individuals and communities, to really think about what it means to be prepared and to educate ourselves on potential risks involved with not being prepared and not having a plan in place.
Knowing what you need and how to use it can help you stay calm and safe during, and even before, an emergency.
That's why it's important to have an emergency kit on hand. A well-stocked emergency kit can help you weather a temporary evacuation or loss of utilities. It can also help keep you stay (somewhat) comfortable, fed, and hydrated until help arrives.
This blog covers what you need in order to build an emergency kit, which is a short term solution to managing a disaster situation. We do have a blog that covers prepping for an in-home situation, which you can find here.
Why Should You Have An Emergency Kit?
You never know when a natural disaster is going to affect your area. In 2021 alone there were 97 natural disasters around the US.
In many of these cases, the disaster management and relief goes beyond just a couple of months and unfortunately many lose loved ones and their homes.
According to CoreLogic, one in every ten homes last year was affected by some sort of natural disaster. But the majority of Americans don’t have a disaster plan in their homes or an emergency kit.
Of course there are different reasons for this, one being space in a home. Not everyone has the means to keep stock of emergency supplies for an entire household. But this is why we recommend building an emergency kit for each person in your household, that is easily accessible and easy to carry if need be.
Building An Emergency Kit
An emergency kit, also known as a bug out bag, is usually kept in your home in case you need to leave quickly. It is packed with items that will typically help you get through the first 72 hours of an emergency situation.
Some of the items that should be in your bug out bag include: food, water, shelter, clothing, first aid kit, and tools. It is important to know what you need and have it ready to go in case of an emergency.
Having a grab-and-go bag ready will help you be prepared for anything that might come your way. Be sure to keep your bag up to date and know what to do with it in case of an evacuation. Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
A good rule of thumb is to only carry what is comfortable on your back. This means that if you’re carrying your backpack and feel like you might topple over- there’s too much inside. You need to have the freedom to move at a fast pace without your bag weighing you down.
Here's what you need to include in your 72 hour emergency kit:
Food and Water
You’ll want to keep food that is already prepared, no cooking required. This can be canned foods, crackers, dried fruits, granola bars, etc. Anything non-perishable is your best bet.
Water is also very important to have in your emergency bag. There are a number of different options for storing water in your bag, one being small pouches of purified water. You can also keep store bought bottles of water in your pack, just remember to check the expiry dates and swap them out with newer bottles as the expiry date nears.
Keeping a portable water filter in your pack is strongly advised, the Survivor filter Straw is the perfect addition to an emergency pack. The straw works really well with the collapsible canteens too. The canteens are made to collapse and roll up when empty, which means they can fit perfectly into small spaces without taking up too much room.
Toiletries are pretty important in an emergency situation. You’ll want to maintain good body and dental hygiene in order to avoid infection, rashes, discomfort and most of all bad smells.
The great thing though, is that this section doesn’t need to be much more than a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap and sunscreen. You could even throw in a pack of body wipes for good measure!
Ladies, remember to include feminine hygiene products too.
Clothing can be cycled out according to the season, but you also don't want to throw out all your winter clothes as soon as summer hits. Weather is very unpredictable so you should pack clothes that can be worn in layers or that can convert according to what you need on the day.
Quick drying clothing will help you stay comfortable after a day out in the sun or rain.
Pack a hat or cap to protect your face and neck from the sun.
Add thick socks that can protect your feet, especially if you need to get out quickly and have to walk a while. Each person’s pack should have their own set of clothes.
Your first aid kit should have items that you know you need such as medication you’re on, this includes insulin and an Epipen if you have allergie and any other related medicines.
You’ll need bandages and gauze, as well as antiseptic wipes.
A space blanket
Topical treatments like Aloe Vera Gel, and a burn cream.
And lastly, a dust mask. Depending on the type of disaster you may need a mask to filter out contaminated air.
A MultiTool can act as a knife, a can opener, scissors, tweezers and even a toothpick.
Your passport and copies of important documents such as birth certificates and deeds, etc. Keep these in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag to preserve space.
Plastic bags are a good idea to keep on hand for waste or to keep wet clothes separate from other items in your bag. You never know how they might be helpful, just know that they most likely will.
A solar charger to keep your phone on
A small notebook and pen or pencil
Note, there are items on this list that can be in just one person's backpack if you’re planning for a family, for example not everyone needs to carry a first aid kit. But just be sure to then add enough space blankets for each person to the one kit.
This emergency kit is purely just a guideline of some essential items you could possibly need. You know yours and your families needs best, so adjust the list accordingly.
An emergency kit is a really good way to start prepping without getting too overwhelmed. Start today, so that you’re ready for tomorrow!