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Emergency Survival Kit

7 Essential Items in Your Emergency Survival Kit

To be prepared for an emergency or disaster wherever you are - at home, at school, in your car, or at work, it is important to include these 7 essential items in your survival kit. These are: food, water, lighting and communication, first aid, survival gear, sanitation and hygiene, and shelter and warmth.

7 essential items for your emergency survival kit


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Water is one of the most important items in a survival kit. You should have one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of 3 days. This will be used for drinking, cooking and sanitation. If you are storing bottled water, replace it at least once a year. Another alternative is water packaged for emergency purposes since it has a long shelf life, ranging from 5 to 50-years.

When it comes to food, a 3 day supply of non-perishable food for each person is recommended. Make sure to check the expiration dates in your kit annually. An alternative is using food bars and freeze dried food specifically formulated for emergency purposes, since it has a 5 to 25-year shelf life. Make sure to bring food for children and pets, and those with allergies.

Having a way to keep informed during an emergency plus a source of lighting is extremely important for your safety. It is good to have a battery-powered, solar-powered or hand crank radio and a flashlight. If it relies on battery power, then include extra batteries. Combination radio/flashlight/cell phone chargers with a siren are newer types of products that rely on hand cranking or solar power, so no batteries are needed. Light sticks, lanterns, candles, and waterproof matches are inexpensive light sources, but important to have on hand if there is no electricity.

A first aid kit is important to have as you never know what type of problems you may encounter during an emergency. There are so many items that should be in a first aid survival kit such as the following: hydrogen peroxide is good to wash and disinfect wounds. Antibiotic ointment is must have to disinfect wounds. Non-prescription medication such as aspirin and any long-term medications (keep these current) should be included. Other important kit items include diarrhea medicine, eye drops, bandage strips, gauze, tape rolls, splints, tweezers, thermometers, and much more. Make sure to have a well-stocked first aid kit with your supplies.

Survival gear includes items like a water and gas shut-off wrench, multi-function knife, heavy duty gloves, dust masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, rope for towing or rescue, shovel, manual can opener, portable stove and fuel, and more. These are just the basics that every emergency kit should have.

Shelter and warmth are basic necessities often overlooked and are critical to have in case an earthquake makes your house uninhabitable and you have to stay outdoors for a prolonged period. Good substitutes for indoor shelter include tents, sleeping bags, thermal blankets, rain ponchos, hand warmers, tarps, and more.

If you do not have access to indoor bathrooms, it is important to have a makeshift toilet so you can take care of basic needs during an emergency. Having a pail to use as a toilet, a toilet seat for the pail, garbage bags and plastic ties, plus toilet paper will help with that. For hygiene, bar soap, toothbrush and paste, tissues, sunscreen, sanitary napkins, and hand sanitizer are all critical. Make sure to have a good supply of these to help stay clean.

In addition to these 7 essential items in your kit, the following should also be on hand: sturdy shoes (keep under bed), a change of clothing, garden hose for siphoning and firefighting, eye glasses, fire extinguisher, cash in small bills and baby diapers if needed.

A survival kit including these 7 essential items will increase your chances for survival in the event of an emergency, whether you are at home, at school, in your car, or at work.