What Should be Included in Emergency Survival Kits?

Jessica Ellis

Disaster is sometimes unavoidable; earthquakes, fires, and other devastating emergencies cannot easily be prevented; however, it is possible to relieve fears of an unknown disaster by properly preparing. Emergency survival kits can not only provide supplies and safety during an emergency, but can also provide peace of mind and reassurance that proper precautions are in place. Some emergency survival kits are available to purchase from various suppliers, but it is also possible to build and customize a kit that meets the specific needs of an individual or family.

Clothes should be included in an emergency survival kit.
Clothes should be included in an emergency survival kit.

Most emergency survival kits will contain basic survival goods meant to last several days. Some experts recommend at least three days worth of food and drinking water, while others recommend a food and water allowance that will last for a week or two. Bottled water is particularly important to include in emergency supply kits, as many natural disasters as well as possible terrorist activity can compromise water sources. Experts suggest that including at least one gallon (3.79 liters) of water per person per day will cover basic hydration and sanitation needs.

A generator for backup electricity.
A generator for backup electricity.

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When including food in a survival kit, look for non-perishable or long-lasting items that do not require refrigeration or special handling. Canned goods are an excellent choice, as they have a long shelf life. Be certain to include a can opener in a survival kit if it includes canned food. Camping or surplus military rations are also good choices, thanks to long shelf lives and minimal cooking needs.

Water, batteries, flashlights and extra food should all be included in a survival kit.
Water, batteries, flashlights and extra food should all be included in a survival kit.

A first aid kit is a must for emergency survival kits, as many disasters can result in injuries. Basic medical supplies such as bandages are very useful, but also consider including pain relievers, a thermometer, and antiseptic cream or liquid. If there are individuals that require a daily prescription for an ongoing medical issue, consider asking a doctor for extra doses to put in the emergency kit. Update the kit regularly to ensure that all medicines are within usable dates.

Bottled water should be included in emergency survival kits.
Bottled water should be included in emergency survival kits.

Blankets, pillows, and warm clothes for all individuals may be an important part of emergency survival kits. Disasters may compromise electrical systems, rendering heat unusable. Even in temperate climates, winter temperatures can dip below freezing; it may be wise to assume that a disaster could strike at the coldest possible time and prepare accordingly. Because electricity may be out for several days in some disasters, battery or solar powered flashlights, radios and other small electrics can be useful in an emergency survival kit. Be certain to include several sets of batteries.

A flashlight should be included in an emergency survival kit.
A flashlight should be included in an emergency survival kit.

To further customize emergency supply kits, think of comfort as well as survival. Books, board games, and drawing or writing materials can be a useful way to prevent panic in children, and also provide some activity during a long, tedious wait. If the family includes pets, consider adding water and food supplies for them as well. Keeping a store of cash is also recommended by some experts, as credit or bank cards may be rendered temporarily unusable.

For emergencies, it's a good idea to have feminine products included in a kit.
For emergencies, it's a good idea to have feminine products included in a kit.
Batteries may be useful in an emergency kit.
Batteries may be useful in an emergency kit.
Toilet paper may be used for a variety of purposes in an emergency.
Toilet paper may be used for a variety of purposes in an emergency.
Photocopies of personal documents, like social security cards and passports, should be kept in an emergency kit.
Photocopies of personal documents, like social security cards and passports, should be kept in an emergency kit.
An emergency kit should include a first-aid kit with bandaids.
An emergency kit should include a first-aid kit with bandaids.
First aid items should be included in emergency survival kits.
First aid items should be included in emergency survival kits.
Canned foods should be included in an emergency survival kit.
Canned foods should be included in an emergency survival kit.
A can opener is a necessity for an emergency survival kit.
A can opener is a necessity for an emergency survival kit.
Extra doses of prescription drugs should be considered a critical addition to an emergency survival kit.
Extra doses of prescription drugs should be considered a critical addition to an emergency survival kit.
An emergency kit should include safety pins.
An emergency kit should include safety pins.

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