There’s nothing scarier than being stranded on a dark, blistery night with nothing to keep you warm and full but your unheated car and a few crumbs left in a potato chip bag. Whether you’re dealing with a broken-down car or natural disaster, it’s important to keep an emergency kit around. Here are 10 things that you MUST keep in the kit to ensure your survival.
Water is undoubtedly the most important item to keep in an emergency kit. It is recommended that you keep enough water to last for three days–at least one gallon per person per day. You could always pack extra, however, for sanitation and food prep.
2. Food and Beverages
You will also want to keep three days’ worth of non-perishable food items (canned and packaged goods) that are easy to open and eat. Avoiding foods you have to prep or heat up makes life a lot easier during a stressful time. Also, don’t forget the can opener, cooking tools, utensils, plates, bowls and cups.
3. First Aid Kit
It is imperative that you keep a first aid kit that includes band aids, gauzes, stomach-settling meds, water purification tablets, medical supplies and more. Also, you’ll want to make sure you always have handy any prescription medication that you require for survival.
You’ll want to include a toolbox that holds in it at the very least a screwdriver, hammer and wrench. But in all honesty, the more tools that you find reasonable to include, the better your chances could be of getting out of a jam if the time ever came.
It’s good to always keep at least one change of clothes in your emergency kit. This would include comfortable walking shoes and underwear. Include one change of clothes for each member of the family.
The emergency kit should also include one blanket per family member. If you are forced to leave the protection of your home or vehicle, the blanket will not only be your warmth, but your shelter.
7. Flashlight and Backup Batteries
Keeping an extra source of light for if you’re forced to navigate during a power outage or out in the dark after leaving your car is crucial, which is why you want to keep a few quality flashlights with you along with backup batteries.
8. Battery-Powered or Hand Crank Radio
A radio that either takes batteries or can be hand-cranked is perfect for an emergency when there’s no electricity. If you have one specifically with NOAA weather and a tone alert, that’s even better. And don’t forget the extra batteries if that’s how it’s powered.
This small metal contraption could make the difference between life and death if you are too weak or far away from help for your voice to carry. A whistle can be heard from yards away and could help rescuers find you if you can’t get to them (remember, Titanic?).
10. The Extras
There are tons of extras to add to your kit, including toiletries, cell phone chargers, a non-cordless telephone set, fire extinguisher, matches in a waterproof container, important documents in a waterproof plastic bag (insurance documents, copies of birth certificates, backup credit card, list of important phone numbers, travelers checks, extra cash), extra set of keys, pen, paper and an extra set of glasses.