- First, start with a list of what goes in an emergency kit. There's not just one right answer here (check this Google search), but it's good to just start with a basic list and go from there. I suggest beginning with the printable checklist of supplies from Ready.gov.
- Now that you have your printed list, scan over it and figure out what items you have on hand. For example, you can get some of your food and water that you've stored from earlier Prep30 tips. Also, you probably already have a flashlight, and a few other things on the list.
- Remember that you're shooting for a 72-hour (3-day) supply of any "consumable" items like food or water (and diapers or dog food!). Plus, you need to have supplies set aside for each family member (including dogs and cats). It sounds like a lot of stuff, and it will be. When selecting food, try to use more than just canned goods. Lighter packaged foods that are high in nutrition (e.g., nuts, trail mix, or protein bars) will help keep the weight of your kit down.
- Go through your house and gather up the things that you have on hand. I recommend doing this right now, as a part of today's 30 minutes. Once you've gotten your on-hand materials together, you'll need to consider how you're going to store things, as discussed in the next two steps.
- If you're just focusing on an emergency kit mainly for use in your house, then you can keep your goods in a clean, dry, and secure container. A plastic tote bin would work well enough for that kind of kit.
- On the other hand, you might consider storing your emergency kit in backpacks, duffel bags, or some other easily carried container. You may have some luggage sitting around that could be repurposed. We used an old rolling backpack (designed for a laptop) to store our "pantry" (heavier food and water); another school backpack for other emergency materials; an old duffel bag for our spare clothes, shoes, etc.; and an old zippable tote bag for our dog's emergency supplies. This allows us to use the supplies as needed, but to also grab them up and go should we need to evacuate.
- Decide on what kind of kit(s) you want, and go get your container(s) if you already have them. If you don't have the final container(s) on hand, find something that you can use temporarily.
- Pack the materials you have on hand in your container, giving some thought and care to how you organize things. Pack heavier items on the bottom, and anything crushable (e.g., granola bars) on the top.
- When you're done packing, store your emergency kit somewhere clean, cool, and dry. Make sure that it's readily accessible too, so that you can quickly get it... y'know, in an emergency.
- As you finish, remember that you probably didn't have everything on the checklist (if you did, congrats!). Assuming you need to acquire more things for your emergency kit, check out these tips on putting together an inexpensive emergency kit. Make sure you add the missing items to your shopping list.
- Once you finish putting together your basic kit, you may want to put together other specialized kits... say, for your car, for work, or a small one to carry with you at all times. If you're truly interested in building a really tailored kit, or you'd like to have multiple kits for your car, for work, for home, etc., I recommend picking up a copy of Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann. It's well worth the $10 investment.
06 September 2011
Prep30: Your basic emergency kit
So, if you've been following these posts in order, you've figured out what basic preparedness steps to take, put together a family emergency communication plan, stored some water, and added food storage items to your grocery list. And, of course, you've got a basic emergency kit set aside, right? No? Well, then let's put one together: