In the wake of Hurricane Katrina family survival kits are a popular recommendation by most emergency management officials. However, deciding exactly what to put in these kits is a daunting task. Several companies offer pre-packaged kits with a variety of survival products. Most families can put together their own survival kits for much less by buying these items individually and placing them in a designated container. Below you will find a comprehensive list of supplies for your family’s survival kit.
Energy bars such as Powerbars or other popular meal replacement products are a great source of protein and carbohydrates. Opt for a chewy granola variety over chocolate as they are likely to have a longer shelf life and will not melt in extreme heat.
These college dorm classics make a great meal by simply mixing with hot water. We recently picked up a 48 pack at Sam’s Club for about $5.00 and store them for emergencies. Noodles are a great source of carbohydrates and the broth provides some necessary fat.
Humans can live up to 30 days without food, but only a few days without water. In an emergency situation it will be the commodity in highest demand. Unfortunately, it is hard to find safe drinking water naturally. For this reason, I recommend storing one gallon per person (minimum) of distilled drinking water.
Water Purification Tablets
These can purchased at camping supply stores and are important to have in case your supply of water runs out of becomes contaminated. If you don’t have the ability to boil water you will need purification tables to prevent ingesting contaminates from dirty water.
We are talking the old fashioned, manual can openers here. We’ve all seen the joke about people being stranded somewhere and finding some cans of food, but not having a can opener. Don’t let that be you!
Regular household matches will not light once they get wet. However, waterproof matches are guaranteed to ignite even after being exposed to moisture.
If you and your family are involved in a structure collapse a safety whistle is a vital piece of survival gear. It does not take much energy to produce a noise loud enough to alert rescuers to your location.
First Aid Kit
A large first aid kit with gloves, analgesics, antiseptic, gauze and bandages is recommended. You really can’t go wrong here – the more items in the first aid kit, the less likely the chance you’ll need something and not have it on hand.
Have a flashlight for each adult and older child, but don’t use them at the same time. Notice the type of batteries the flashlights take and have a backup set on hand for each light.
These are great for reducing the risk of dust, mold spores or other contaminants from entering your lungs. Masks may be especially important in a structural collapse where debris and other micro particles may be floating around. Remember the dust created when the World Trade Center towers collapsed on September 11?
Thermal blankets may be found in many roadside emergency kits. They are usually folded into small packs not much larger than a deck of cards, but may be opened and unfolded in an emergency. Be sure to have one for each person because they generally are not big enough to share.
Swiss Army Knife
Multi-purpose tool may be used for cutting into packaging, opening bottles or sharpening other tools using the small file.
I like to keep a 5-gallon can of gasoline stored for emergencies. To keep the gas fresh, I use one can up every few months in my car of lawn mower and replenish the supply in a separate can. Gasoline can be used to run generators and vehicles for short distances. In a natural disaster gas is hard to come by as most stations are disabled, or their gas supplies are contaminated by water.