7 Essential Items You Need in Your Disaster Survival Kit

7 Essential Items You Need in Your Disaster Survival Kit

After seeing hundreds of communities face the devastation of a natural disaster, many people have adopted the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared.” It’s crucial to make sure your family is safe should something happen.

A disaster survival kit should contain some core items but be personalized to your family and your situation. The best rule of thumb is to have supplies to survive at least 72 hours through that kit.

Keep reading to learn why you need to seriously think about whether you’re prepared and how to make sure you are.

Why Do You Need a Disaster Survival Kit?

Think back to Hurricane Katrina in the southern states or Hurricane Juan in Nova Scotia. Though one was much less severe than the other, both left thousands of people without power, supplies or access to immediate help.

In 2018 there were more than 20 hurricanes that hit land in the Northern Hemisphere in just over 70 days. That’s not even talking about every other kind of natural disaster. In some cases, it takes days and weeks for some people to get any help at all.

Having a plan and a disaster survival kit could truly be the difference between life and death.

The Essentials For Every Disaster Survival Kit

There are some things that are crucial to have in your kit for it to be efficient for survival. You need to take into account how many people, animals, etc you are building kits for.

You may not be able to get everything you need at one time because let’s face it, it’s expensive to live.

You can pick up supplies a little at a time and eventually build your disaster survival supplies up to a full kit. Click for more on getting the right supplies for any surviving you have to do — whether it’s during a natural disaster or on a backpacking trip through the wilderness.

Ideally, each member of the family should have a kit they can access if needed.

1. Water

You can’t survive without water. It’s not only essential to keep you hydrated and alive but you’ll need it for other purposes as well.

You’ll need enough water for every person for three days. There’s more than just water to drink that you need to consider. You’ll need water for hygiene, meal prep, and various other things.

In the middle of a natural disaster, you’re not going to be able to call an emergency plumber so make sure you can survive and have planned for surviving without one.

If you don’t have the space to keep this much water it’s essential that you at least have drinking water and a way to sanitize water to make it safe to use. Water purifying pills and a pot to boil water in should be among your supplies in this area.

2. Food, Supplies, and Mess Kit

Every disaster survival kit should contain food to get each person through at least three days. Depending on the disaster you may be unreachable and stores in the area may be completely destroyed or shut down due to power outages and damage.

It may be unsafe to leave your house or you may be stuck in your car trying to get to safety so it’s important you think ahead and prepare when it comes to food.

You don’t want to be hangry while dealing with your children begging for food or a family member passing out from low blood sugars.

The Right Food

Make sure your kit has non-perishable foods and that it’s food everyone will eat. There are packaged food storage supplies that are durable and versatile but can be expensive.

It’s not going to do you much good to have three days worth of chicken soup if your child won’t each chicken. If you can’t stomach water on its own don’t forget to throw in some drink crystals.

Don’t forget food and supplies for your four-legged family members too.

The Right Supplies

Make sure you have the food supplies you need as well. There’s no sense having three days worth of food in cans when you don’t have a manual can opener.

A camping stove is a good way to heat up meals and boil water when needed. Don’t forget waterproof matches so you have a way to light a fire if needed.

Don’t forget a mess kit with utensils, bowl, cup, etc. so that you can eat and drink. Have snack foods and energy bars that everyone likes and can easily give you the nutrients you need.

3. Radio, Lights, and Batteries

Your cellphone may not have service and you may not have a way to charge it so make sure you have a way to get information. A backup battery that is charged is always a good idea. Include cords in case you’re evacuated to someplace that has power.

A hand-crank or battery radio will help you find out what is going on and should be a part of your survival kit.

Camping or flashlights with extra batteries are necessary for the nights. If there’s a blackout you want to be able to see.

4. First Aid Kit and Medicine

A well stocked first aid kit should be one of the first things in your kit. You also want to make sure you always have a supply of all medications and medical supplies family members use regularly.

You don’t want an already stressful situation becoming more heartbreaking because of a medical emergency caused by not having a backup asthma inhaler or insulin for a family member who needs it.

You want to prepare for extreme heat or cold temperatures depending on where you live. It’s smart to have an emergency blanket in your kit and/or car.

5. Family Documents

You can’t take every family memory with you but you’ll want to have certain documents with you above and beyond your wallet and ID.

You’ll want to have medical and personal identification documents for each member of the family. You’ll want at least photocopies of Passports, insurance policies, and other important legal documents.

6. Clothing, Shoes, and Personal Items

You’re going to want fresh clothing, shoes and personal items for each member of the family. Personal hygiene products, toys to entertain and distract the kids, and things to pass the time for the adults.

7. Bags, Bags, and More Bags

You’re going to want to include several different bags on your supply list. You’ll want a big bag or tote to make your emergency survival kit portable if you have to evacuate the area or change locations.

You’ll want Ziploc or waterproof bags for matches, personal items, documents, etc. If your survival kit gets wet you don’t want everything in it to be ruined.

Garbage bags are always good to have as well.

Sleeping bags are invaluable. You’ll have something to keep warm, a blanket to lie on, something to use as a gurney if needed.

Have a Plan and a Disaster Survival Kit

You may not be able to anticipate every emergency and disaster but the more you know the better you’ll be able to handle it. Have a plan for where your family will meet in case of emergency, who’ll grab supplies and what each family member is responsible for.

Having a disaster survival kit can help you be prepared no matter what comes your way. Making sure every family member knows where it is and what to do will help everyone be safer and calmer if an emergency does arise.

To learn more about being financially prepared check out this post on how quitting alcohol can save you money.

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