How to Make Your Own Emergency Preparedness Kit

October 16, 2021
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Whether you live in a locale where natural disasters and emergencies are commonplace or not, it's always a good idea to follow the Boy Scout motto of "Be prepared." After all, you want to make sure that you and your family are ready if something happens. This includes preparing a disaster plan and having an emergency preparedness kit with the appropriate supplies on hand.

What is an emergency preparedness kit, and why do you need it?

An emergency preparedness kit is a collection of goods and tools necessary for at least three days of survival in case of emergencies. This includes the basic things you will need to live, deal with any immediate problems and get to safety.

Disasters are always unlikely until they happen.

You might be wondering why you should bother preparing for a disaster ahead of time. Why stress about something that you're not even sure it's going to happen?

However, emergency prepping has a lot of benefits that come with it. When you prepare ahead of time, you can minimize fear and anxiety and the losses of these emergencies.

Additionally, it helps to know ahead of time what you should do in case of a fire or where to seek refuge during inclement weather, such as flooding or tornadoes.

Different emergencies require different plans.

Depending on where you live, natural disasters and emergencies can happen at any time. So, you must become familiar with the types of emergencies or disasters that are common in your area to be best prepared for them. The following are the most common things everybody should be prepared for:

  • Fire
  • Tornado
  • Flooding
  • Chemical emergency (spill, explosion, etc.)
  • Terrorist threat
  • Earthquake
  • Landside
  • Power outages
  • Volcano
  • Winter storms

These are just a few common emergencies or disasters that could happen at any time. Again, take the time to learn more about which ones are most likely to occur in your area and make your plans based on those.

Emergency Preparedness Kits will save you and your family.

So, how can you best prepare for any disaster? Before you even start wondering how to put together an emergency preparedness kit, you need to assess possible risks and prepare for your specific needs in advance.

There are several reasons why you would need an emergency preparedness kit. Below, we will outline a few of those reasons.

  • An emergency can happen to anyone at any time without notice.
  • Emergency preparedness kits are affordable, and the benefits outweigh the cost.
  • An emergency preparedness kit gives you peace of mind.
  • Food and water are necessary to help you maintain the energy you need to get through a disaster.
  • An emergency preparedness kit gives you the ability to receive and transmit information from and to others as needed.
  • You might end up saving not just yourself but your friends and family too.

Once you have weighed your needs and the possible risks that different disasters could present, you can determine what you need in an emergency preparedness kit with the help of this prepper guide.

How to build an emergency preparedness kit

Now that you have a general idea about the possible problems that would arise in case of an emergency, it's time to put together your own at-home emergency preparedness kit.

First, build an emergency plan.

To be truly prepared for an emergency or disaster, you must come up with a plan for yourself and your family. Here are a few of the things that you need to consider:

  • Create a communications plan.
  • Have someone that does not live near you be the check-in point for those who do.
  • Prepare to evacuate if necessary, including getting your vehicle ready.
  • Create your emergency supply kit or go bag with enough provisions for at least 72 hours.
  • Consider special needs, such as medications, extra clothes, etc.

As you consider these factors, you will be guided about what to pack in an emergency preparedness kit.

Second, know what you need in an emergency preparedness kit.

When putting together different items in an emergency kit for home, it is essential to have supplies that will help you survive, whether you'll have to shelter in place or have to travel somewhere safe. So, what are the basics of an emergency preparedness kit for the home? Here are the basic things you should have to make sure you and your family are prepared for any emergency that may come your way:

  • Food and water
  • Money and important documents
  • Your specific medical needs
  • First aid kit
  • Clothing
  • Communication tools
  • Survival tools

Depending on the severity of the situation, these basic things will help you stay alive and well for days.

What Should Be in an Emergency Preparedness Kit?

While it’s true that you can buy an emergency preparedness kit, it might be better to take the time to make your own. When you decide what to include in your emergency preparedness kit, you should consider the types of emergencies or disasters in your area. Your kit should get you and your family through at least 3 days.

Now, we will discuss some things that you should include in your emergency kit.

Food and Clean Water

Store enough supply of non-perishable packaged food and at least a gallon of water for each family member. This will ensure water supply for sanitation and drinking for at least three days. To keep your water safe in storage, you will need to store it in a BPA-free food-grade plastic container.

The Water Barrel, Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container, is your best option. You can get one for each family member and, because they are stackable, they're easy to store. Just note that whatever container you’re using, you will have to replace the water every six months.

To be even more prepared, you also include a portable water filter. This LifeStraw Personal Water Filter will supply you with clean, drinking water even after you have depleted the initial supply. As you drink water through the straw, 99.9% of bacteria and parasites are filtered out. Each of these straws can filter up to 1000 gallons of water, which is more than most people drink in a year. This item will be very helpful in case of a drink and food storage emergency. Plus, they never expire, so they are safe to include in your kit. That being said, this should be on the top of your hurricane preparedness list.

Clothing and Blanket

When disaster hits, it might be too late to grab some change of clothes from the closet. So, make sure everybody in the family has their own set of clothes in the kit. Of course, an emergency blanket must also be included to keep you warm. This foil-style Swiss Safe Emergency Blanket would be an excellent choice for an emergency blanket because of its military-grade mylar, which will help you retain up to 90% of your body heat. It is also tear-resistant, and the reflective side can send an emergency SOS signal if you need help.

Money and Documents 

Keeping a stash of cash and the most critical documents in your kit is unquestionably wise. It is also a good idea to have a place to store important documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and passports. This way, they are readily accessible in case you do need to leave quickly. So, investing in a Fireproof Document Box like the  SentrySafe 1170 Fireproof Box with Key Lock would help you in emergencies. This box can handle half an hour of extreme heat up to 1550°F. The installation is ETL verified to protect various items from fire damage and can accommodate hanging files to keep your papers organized. Finally, it comes with a key so that you can lock it up to keep burglars from getting their hands on your personal paperwork.

Note that this document box weighs 28 pounds, so it is not easy to move if you have to leave quickly on foot.

Radio 

Another critical component to have in your emergency kit is a battery-powered or hand-crank radio. In times of emergency, the radio might be your only source of outside information. The Emergency Radio,  Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio, is an excellent choice because it can be powered via solar or USB charging via wall adapter. It has a built-in rechargeable, replaceable battery pack or can run with three AA batteries. This radio can broadcast AM and FM, 2-band shortwave, and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. It also includes a port so you can charge your smartphone, a reading lamp, a red LED beacon light, and an LED flashlight.

Lighting

Flashlight

A good, old flashlight to help you move in the dark is always necessary for every emergency kit. The Anker Bolder LC130 LED Flashlight is portable and provides various light modes, including a high beam, medium babe, and energy-saving low beam. Additionally, there is an emergency SOS and a high visibility strobe if you need to signal for help. This flashlight can be recharged with the included USB cable. After charging for 8 hours, you will have light for up to six hours.

Additionally, a headlamp will also be helpful in case you need hands-free lighting. The  Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight will provide you with a 165-foot beam of light and has a 45-degree tiltable body. It runs on three AAA batteries and will run for 45 hours. It only weighs 3.2 ounces, so that it can be worn comfortably for several hours.

You may find yourself in a situation where you need to be more visible to others around you. The Cyalume SnapLight Green Glow Sticks will do just that. They are industrial grade and have a 5-year shelf life. When you need it, pull one out of the foil-wrapped package and snap it to make it glow for up to 12 hours. Keep in mind that while they last for 12 hours, they will grow dim. Therefore, it is critical that you do not snap them too early. They are waterproof and fireproof. In addition to including these and you're at home emergency kit, you may also want some in your vehicles.

Batteries

If you opt for a battery-powered flashlight, don't forget to include plenty of batteries too. While it is true that most things run on rechargeable batteries, there are some things that you will need batteries for. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that you have batteries on hand in various sizes for those things. The AmazonBasics AA 1.5 Volt Performance Alkaline Batteries boast a 10-year shelf life, plus they are easy to open, which will prevent frustration in an emergency.

Lantern

When the power goes out, a camping lantern will prove beneficial in your at-home emergency preparedness kit. The Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern is a battery-powered Lantern that will withstand the worst nighttime conditions. It uses three AAA batteries, weighs just over one pound, and provides a 360-degree illumination period. Since it is collapsible, it is easy to store. Additionally, you can control how bright the light is by how much you open it.


Stove and Fire Starters

While it is not critical to include a portable stove in your emergency kit, it's always good to have it if you are without power for more than a couple of days. The Coleman Portable Butane Stove would be a great addition to your kit because it is easy to light and supports pans up to 10 inches. It is easy to clean with a rustproof aluminum burner and a porcelain-coated grate. Also, it comes with its own carrying case. You will need to purchase butane bottles. One canister will last 1.25 hours- so make sure to stock up if you will be cooking for your family.

In addition, make sure you add fire starters to your kit. While matches and butane lighters are helpful, matches won't work if they get wet, and the lighter can run out of butane. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a fire starter to easily start a fire to cook or stay warm when needed. The Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter with Compass, Paracord, and Whistle glows in the dark so that you can use it with ease even in the darkest conditions. The magnesium ferrocerium rod is much more reliable than flint and will last for about 16,000 strikes. It is small and light so that it won't take up much room in your emergency kit. Additionally, it includes a paracord, a built-in compass, and a whistle.


Medical kit

In case of a true emergency, medical supplies are your top go-bag essentials. The Medical Kit: M2 BASICS 300 Piece First Aid Kit includes 40 distinct items that will have you prepared in a minor emergency. This satisfies the first aid kit checklist most families need. Plus, it comes in the carrying case, so you don't have to worry about things getting separated. A very importantly, make sure you have a stash of your family’s essential medication. 


Generator and Gas Can 

No one can live without power these days. So, you will want a generator in case the power goes out. The Champion Power Equipment 4750/3800-Watt Gas and Propane Dual Fuel Powered Portable Generator is a great item for an emergency because it runs on gas or propane and provides you with 10.5 hours on a tank of propane or 9 hours runtime on a full tank of gas. It features a push-button start and is as quiet as a vacuum cleaner. Easy to read digital meter that shows when you're running low on fuel. Plus, it has wheels, so it's easy to move to where you need it.

You will also need a Scepter 5 Gal. Smart Control Gas Can keep your generator running for days. It holds 5 gallons and features a controllable flow rate. You can dispense 3 gallons in 60 seconds by squeezing it hard or squeeze it lighter to get a slower flow. When filling the gas can, be sure to leave the room so that you can squeeze. The Canon is a durable plastic that will not break and features a flame mitigation device to prevent a fire. Ideally, the gas should be stored in a shed or detached garage, a minimum of 50 feet from ignition sources. 


Emergency Toilet

If you are in an emergency situation that requires you to remain indoors for several days, you may find it helpful to have a portable toilet. The Camco Portable Toilet would be the best option for you because it includes a 2.5-gallon flush tank. It also has a bellows-style pump to flush waste into the waste tank, which is watertight and holds odor in. This model stands 15.5 inches high and is easy for someone with bad knees to use. It does include a sample of orange-scented drop-ins to control odor.


Other Survival Supplies

Aside from the basics mentioned above, some emergency supplies can be helpful in many ways. First, getting some reliable carabiners can help keep your gear up off the ground. These Gimars 3-Inch Carabiners are lightweight aluminum and can hold up to 150 pounds. This means that you will be able to hang your gear up. They are easy to use with one hand and are guaranteed to work for around 5000 openings/closures. The variety of colors allows you to color code what you are hanging. These are helpful even in a non-emergency situation. They are not meant to be used for climbing.

Add a rope to your carabiners, and you will have your climbing and lifting duo. The Titan Paracord 620lb Multi-Purpose Survivor Cord will help you secure a splint in case of injury or create a tripwire to alarm you that someone or something is coming.

Finally, one essential item in every emergency preparedness kit is a knife. While it is true that there are more budget-friendly pocket knives on the market, it is worse paying more for durable and easy to hold. After all, in a survival situation, quality matters. The Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool features a 2.5” blade, scissors, a wood saw, and so much more. The no-slip grip ensures that you can use the knife even if your hands are wet or sweaty. This knife is 3.3” long and weighs 3.3 ounces and comes in a few different colors. 


Conclusion

Because no one can predict a disaster, an emergency preparedness kit is a necessity every home should have. Make sure that you have communicated your emergency plans with your family. Once everything in your survival kit list is done, you will gain some peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for anything.