When faced with an emergency situation, whether it’s an ice storm that knocks out power to your house for a few days, car trouble that leaves you stranded or some other type of massive emergency, you will never say, “I was over-prepared.” If anything, you may wish that you had bought more water, sprung for those extra batteries or stocked up on your favorite brand of canned tuna when it went on sale.
Emergencies can and do happen. Fortunately, you can take plenty of steps to be prepared for the unexpected. To build a solid DIY emergency kit that can help you get through a variety of circumstances, check out the following tips:
Purchase a Backpack
To be doubly prepared for any emergency, consider two types of DIY kits: a larger one for at-home survival and a portable one you can use for travel or bugging out. A large tactical backpack is ideal for holding your to-go emergency kit. Look for a brand that is trusted and used by military personnel, police and firefighters like 5.11 Tactical. While you’re at it, you might want to purchase tactical clothing to store in the backpack. Ensure the apparel is extremely durable, budget-friendly and will protect you from the elements during an emergency away from home.
Stock up on Water and Other Beverages
No survival kit will be complete without water, and plenty of it. The Red Cross suggests having one gallon of water on hand, per person, per day. Shoot for a 3-day supply for your backpack in case you have to evacuate, and a 2-week supply for a home-based emergency situation. Every time you go grocery shopping, pick up an extra few gallons of water and pretty soon you’ll have plenty on hand. Remember that plenty of other beverages will keep you hydrated, so consider adding drinks like Gatorade, fruit and vegetable juices, shelf-stable milk, and flavored waters to your stockpile. In case you are cooped up in the house due to a hurricane, flood or other emergency that negatively impacts your town’s water supply, be ready to sanitize your tap water when your bottled water runs out. Buy two small bottles of unscented bleach and add one to your backpack and one to your home supply. If you need to use contaminated tap water, the EPA suggests using a medicine dropper to add six drops of bleach to a gallon of water. Stir and let it sit for 30 minutes before using it.
Keep Energy Up with Specific Foods
When selecting foods for your emergency kit, think of easy-to-store, shelf-stable options that you enjoy. Select items that contain plenty of protein, and steer clear of sugary foods as much as you can. As long as allergies are not an issue, things like peanut butter, bags of nuts, trail mix with peanuts and granola bars with almonds are great selections. Canned chili, tuna, soups, fruit, veggies and beans are also excellent choices. Stock up your pantry shelves with lots of crackers, dried fruit and other foods and add the smaller and more portable items like protein bars to your backpack.
Focus on Communication and Light
As Survival Goods notes, during a disaster, local radio stations will broadcast information and updates, so having a portable radio will keep you updated—especially if the TV and your phone are not working. Purchase a couple of transistor radios: one for home and one for your backpack. To be sure you can always see in the dark, pack plenty of extra flashlights and store them in a place that’s easy to access. Be sure to stock up on whatever type of batteries you need to operate portable electronics. Glo-sticks, which you can find for a buck a bag at the dollar store, are also great sources of light you can easily tote in your backpack and glove compartment of your car.
About the author: Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.