No one is exempted when a disaster strikes, and the likelihood of one’s survival could depend on how well-prepared they are in such scenarios. What kind of preparation does this entail? First, doing some research on what kind of disasters are likely to happen in your area is essential. Is your area prone to flooding? Are you often in the pathway of a tornado or hurricane? This information will help you in the process of making the next step — creating an emergency survival kit.
What kind of emergency kit are you making?
By knowing the kind of disasters that may occur, you may tailor-fit the contents of your emergency kit, and pick out items that will be necessary for your survival, as needs may vary depending on local circumstances. For instance, emergencies such as wildfire may require you to leave your home quickly, therefore, having prepared an emergency kit well in advance will help you take essential items even if you must evacuate with little notice. Make sure that your kit is kept in an accessible location, which allows you to easily grab it in urgent situations.
For some emergencies such as a blizzard, you might be required to stay in place at home for several days. In such cases, you might want to gather supplies from when a storm is the first forecast and closely monitor the storm, to ensure that you have everything you need on hand.
Aside from considering what kind of items to include in your emergency survival kit, you may also think about the number of supplies that you should prepare. It is advisable to prepare supplies to last you and your family for at least three days or maybe even a week.
Whether you are hunkering down to weather a storm at home, scrambling to evacuate to get to safety, or facing the possibility of being stranded in your vehicle during stormy weather, one thing is sure: having the proper provisions can help make a difficult scenario safer for you.
What Should an Emergency Survival Kit Include?
The following are some key items for an emergency survival kit that would be helpful in whatever potential emergency that may arise. Carefully consider how each of them could suit each possible disaster and arm yourself appropriately.
General Kit List
It is advisable to prepare one gallon of water per person per day. This may be used for drinking and sanitation purposes.
Non-perishable and ready-to-eat items are recommended. If you will pack canned foods, it is recommended to get the ones with easy-open tabs. Otherwise, make sure to prepare a non-electric can opener.
Prepare a complete set of change of clothes appropriate for your area’s climate. You may also include a blanket or sleeping bag in your emergency survival kit.
- Personal hygiene and sanitation:
This may include soap, towels, toothbrushes, and other toiletries.
- Portable lighting:
Flashlights are ideal, but headlamps are also efficient, as they can be used without the hands. Remember to pack extra batteries as well.
You need to keep yourself updated and monitor developments in times of disaster. In such scenarios, a radio will be your best source of news. It could either be a battery-powered or wind-up hand-crank radio. Again, make sure that you also prepare extra batteries.
- First-aid kit:
A standard first-aid kit may include plasters, sterile gauze dressings, bandages, a thermometer, and non-prescription medications such as painkillers and anti-diarrhea medications among others.
Emergency cash and checks must also be on-hand, as credit cards may not be dependable in a power outage.
This includes your cell phone and spare batteries. Portable power sources must also be packed, including vehicle chargers. If possible, solar chargers are preferred especially in cases where electric outlets are not available.
Emergency whistles can be used to call for help and alert emergency rescuers of your location.
In case of air contamination, a dust mask will protect you from possible respiratory problems.
In case a need for setting up a temporary shelter arises, plastic sheeting and waterproof tape can be used to protect hazardous materials.
Copies of personal documents and identification, including a home inventory list, insurance policies (home, life, auto, pets, business, etc), and other important legal and financial documents must be prepared. This could either be digitally saved or have the hard copies placed in a waterproof container. It is also advisable to keep a printed list of emergency contacts and other important phone numbers, in case the power is out and electronic devices are not working.
Some other items to be included are paper and pen or pencil, waterproof matches, a local map, an extra set of house and car keys, eating utensils, and a pocket toolset.
Aside from packing an emergency survival kit for the whole family, you also need to think about the needs of each family member. Here are some items that could be packed in addition to the basic survival kit for individuals that may require special care.
Special Care List
Infant-care supplies may include infant formula, extra water, bottles, diapers, and rash cream. Having wipes and lots of hand sanitizer is also important, in case soap and water is not readily available.
To distract children and keep them entertained during a stressful situation, parents may want to include books, puzzles, and other activities in their kids’ emergency kit. Packing some extra snacks for them is also advised.
- Elderly and disabled:
The emergency survival kit of those who need special care like seniors or disabled may include prescribed daily medication and other medical items such as blood pressure monitoring devices. Records of medical conditions including allergies should also be prepared and stored in a waterproof container, just like any other important document.
A supply of pet food and extra water must also be prepared. If your pets are taking any medications, remember to pack those, as well as other items that may help them feel less stressed in an uncomfortable environment. For example, some treats or a toy they are particularly fond of might be helpful. Plastic bags, paper towels, and disinfectants are also needed for waste clean-up.
Not all the items listed above would be suitable for all emergencies, as each scenario varies from one area to another. You may choose to customize your survival kit as you deem fit or you could also coordinate with the local emergency management personnel in your area to ensure that your emergency survival kit is properly built for your local needs.
Maintaining Your Emergency Survival Kit
Some contents of the kit need to be checked and replenished periodically, like water, food items, and medicine. Replace items that will expire within the next six months. Canned goods that show signs of damage such as dents or swelling must be discarded. Battery supplies must also be checked for expiration, leakage, and damage. If any of these are present, replace them immediately.
You also need to reconsider the contents of your emergency survival kit to keep up with your family’s changing needs.
Where to keep your kit is also something to think about when making preparations.
- At home:
Make sure that all family members know where the emergency kit is located and should be easily accessible in case urgent evacuation is needed.
- In the car:
If you have a car, putting an emergency survival kit there would be helpful in case you get stranded. As part of emergency preparation, it is also advisable to keep your car’s fuel tank at least half full.
Remember, we can never tell when disasters would strike. That is why building an emergency survival kit now would be beneficial to you and your family. Here at Advantage Insurance Solutions, we want to help you prepare for these situations, talk to one of our risk advisors and ensure that you have the right coverage today!