One of the best ways to prepare for an emergency is to have a well stocked survival kit on hand.
Whether you buy a pre-made kit or build your own, the following items should be high on your list to include.
1. Bottled water: Ensure you have enough water to last each person at least 5 days.
2. Non-Perishable Food: When cooking and refrigeration aren't possible, shelf stable foods allow you to have ready made nourishment easily on hand to keep everyone going. Make sure you have enough food to last each person at least 5 days including snacks - don't forget to also include food and water for your pets!
3. Hand Crank Radio: By choosing a hand crank powered radio you make it more reliable to stay connected to important updates from government officials and emergency services during electrical blackouts or when stranded somewhere without internet or cellphone coverage.
4. First Aid Kit: No one ever plans to get sick or injured, but during storms and natural disasters risks to personal safety often increase while quick access to professional medical services tend to decrease. Ensure you can take care of basic medical issues such as cleaning and patching up cuts and wounds or securing broken bones with a comprehensive first aid kit.
5. Flashlight: Electricity tends to be the first service to go down during severe weather and earthquakes. Be able to get around your home or neighbourhood safely by packing enough flashlights for everyone in your household.
6. Whistle: In case you are trapped or stranded at home and need to get someone's attention, a whistle is a powerful but low cost way to 'sound the alarm' that you require assistance. An airhorn and flares are other item you can consider including for the same reasons.
7. Batteries / Charger: A flashlight and cellphone are only of use as long as they are charged! Don't let a lack of power get in the way of getting help or staying connected by ensuring you have enough spare batteries and a power bank charger (such as a solar powered one) on hand to keep your gadgets operational longer.
8. Waterproof Matches: In severe situations, electricity and other amenities such as water may be down for several days or maybe even weeks. In those incidences you may have to resort to using candles to brighten your home or cooking dinner over an open fire in order to get by. Matches will allow you to quickly and easily start a fire as needed. Lighters are also great but run the risk of a mechanical failure or a fuel leak.
9. Candles: Flashlights are important to have on hand but sometimes you need a light source to remain lit in specific areas around the home. Candles such as tealights make it easy to maintain a bit of light in the bathroom and bedroom so you don't need to rely on draining precious batteries and lamps. Tealights can also be used to create a pattern or shape such as a circle or arrow to get the attention of emergency personnel during rescues.
10. Toilet Paper: The last thing you want to worry about during an emergency is not being able to easily go to the bathroom. Avoid having to forage for leaves by keeping enough toilet paper on hand to keep every 'body' happy. As a bonus, toilet paper's cardboard cores also make great additions when starting a fire.
11. Garbage Bags: From an impromptu rain poncho to a DIY toilet or even as simple as being able to fill a bag and run, garbage bags are versatile items to include in every kit. Even better, you most likely already have some on hand!
12. Moist Toilettes: When water isn't freely available, showers and hand washing become much more difficult. Stay on top of personal hygiene with moist toilettes which can also be used to wipe dishes and pots cleans after meals.
Don't forget to also keep important documents and critical medications close-by to your kit to easily grab in case you need to evacuate quickly. Some other things you may want to include are: glasses, cash, sleeping bags, tents, running shoes, change of clothes, a fire extinguisher, feminine supplies, mess kits, and books or games for tamariki.
What else do you include in your kit? Share your tips below to keep our communities well prepared!
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