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Building a Home Emergency Kit – 7 things you should consider

Every home should have a well prepared emergency kit. This kit should be well stocked with items that will allow you and your family to make it through most any disaster or emergency with a relative level of comfort. When building your home emergency kits there are seven categories of items that need to be included. Plan for a minimum of three months of supplies and it’s a good idea to include some backup systems for items that can fail, such as flashlights.

1) Water

No one can survive long without it! Your emergency kit will need to allow for 1 gallon of water per person per day. That adds up to a lot of water for a three month period. If storage space is an issue, you need to acquire a good full-spectrum filter that can produce the equivalent amount of clean drinking water. Water purifying tablets are also a good alternative to have handy; they don’t take up much space and will provide an additional level of protection against waterborne diseases. Regardless of your filter choice, I highly recommend that you have some readily available bottled water as part of your kit. 

2) Food

Another item that we can’t last very long without. This category probably offers the greatest range of choices and is subject to lots of debate. Your home emergency kit can contain freeze dried foods, MRE’s, canned foods or whatever else you find that works for you. I prefer to have a good selection of long shelf life freeze-dried food. This allows me to have a pretty diverse menu selection and reduces the risk that my food supply will spoil before I use it. Remember, we are planning for a minimum of three months here, and no one wants to eat dehydrated food bars every day. If you decide to go with canned foods from the store or from your own homemade variety, plan to devise some sort of food rotation schedule so you don’t have spoilage.

3) Light

Unless you want to spend half your time stumbling around in the dark, this is a crucial item. Light is more than just a convenience for us, it’s a morale booster. Light lengthens the workday, and it is a way to signal for help. I have a few flashlights, candles, and a lantern in my kit. I have a couple of lights that require batteries, but I prefer to have crank or shake charged flashlights for long-term. It’s also a good idea to have a few dozen chem-lights or light sticks in your kit.

 

4) Fire/Warmth

Yep! Even if you are sheltering in place it may get cold. Who knows if a disaster will wait until spring to knock on your door? Being able to produce a fire for warmth could be the difference in surviving or suffering. This can be easily handled by storing matches (they also make great barter items) or other fire making devices. I keep a small batch of firewood for normal use, but if you don’t have that option remember to provide some type of fuel source for your fire. Other options for warmth would be good quality sleeping bags or heavy duty blankets.

5) Shelter

Another item that is relatively simple but often overlooked. Your personal disaster may include your roof being blown off or house destroyed. If that happens you will need to be able to shelter your family from the elements as much as possible. A couple of good quality tarps can be rigged to keep the wind and rain to a minimum, or you can just get a good sized tent to meet those needs. Either way don’t leave out or minimize the need for shelter.

6) Sanitation

Don’t be nasty! This is a bit different than bugging out, this could be for months. Nobody wants to be stuck in a house without a working toilet and no where to put the poop. You will need some way to dispose of human waste and to keep yourself clean. I keep a couple of rolls of kitchen garbage bags in my kit to use these for handling waste. Toilet paper and baby wipes can handle the rest. Also don’t forget to put some bars of soap in your kit for bathing.

7) Safety

This is a two pronged category. As part of my safety prep I include a well stocked first aid kit for long term needs. This is stored as part of my family emergency plan and not used for day to day needs. That way I don’t have to worry about it being empty or missing key components during an emergency situation. The second aspect of safety is personal/family protection. This can be a firearm of your choice or any other type of weapon that you deem fit. There is no telling what you may have to face in a disaster. From wild animals to wild people it may become necessary to protect yourself in any extended emergency.

 Hopefully you will never need to use anything from your home emergency kit. However, like all things, it is much better to have and not need, than to need and not have. If you have other items that you feel are important to have in a kit please comment and let us know.

Stay safe,

Brian

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