Making up an emergency preparedness kit can seem a bit daunting if you have no idea where to start, but it does need to be done especially if you have a family. I'd rather be called a survival nut and buy a few simple items than have someone I cared about be hurt because I didn't have the items. Most of the items will be fairly easy to find and a lot you may already have in your home.
This article will be concentrating on what will be useful in your home during a two week emergency. This list can be worked with to accommodate single people or people who rent. The important thing is to get started. There are all kinds of natural disasters and emergencies that can occur and some of these may require specific items that are not mentioned in this article, but rest assured every item mentioned will help in nearly every type of situation.
The contents of your kit will probably change as your situations change, so try and sit down at least once a year and think about how you or your family's needs have changed and how this could impact a survival situation. Better yet, keep a piece of paper around and take notes of changes to make to your emergency preparedness kit as they come to you. You'll find that many items will be used quite often, but those survival items that you don't use that much should be kept in one place or in a container such as a plastic bin or duffel bag (make sure they are clearly labeled and easy to find).
Emergency Preparedness Kit Items
• Flashlight or light sticks are always useful. Candles and kerosene lamps can be used, but do present a fire hazard for those who are not familiar with them.
• Nonprescription drugs to help take care of pain, fevers, diarrhea or constipation, upset stomach, Syrup of Ipecac and activated charcoal (for poisonings), etc.
• Manual can opener.
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, soap, feminine supplies, toothpaste, etc.
• First aid kit that includes bandages, medicine dropper, antiseptics, bandage tape, scissors, tweezers, latex gloves, thermometer, etc.
• Emergency manuals or books on first aid are good to have. You may never look at them, but if you need them you'll be glad you have some solid information.
• A two week supply of any needed prescription drugs. An extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses would also be useful in case one pair gets broken or lost.
• Paper plates, cups, paper towels, and plastic utensils. You don't want to waste water on washing dishes if you don't have to.
• Extra batteries. I'd recommend at least enough batteries to change out each item twice.
• Aluminum foil is great for cooking on fires if you have one available to you.
• Pencil and paper.
• Matches in a waterproof container or other fire starting device, even if it's just a regular lighter.
• Extra blankets or sleeping bags come in handy in colder weather. The colder it gets the more you should have. You may not have a heat source.
• Local maps. Very few people know all the roadways, even if they've lived in the area for a while.
• Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
• Entertainment. Games or books will keep you from going insane if you have nothing else to keep you distracted.
• Work gloves. They'll keep your hands from being cut up if you have to handle rough objects.
• Portable crank or battery powered radio. Phone service may be out and information is important.
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
• Garbage bags and ties. These will be more useful than you think if the emergency goes on for any length of time. Smelly clothes can be stored until washed and of course the garbage has to go somewhere.
• Sewing supplies (needles, thread, safety pins, etc.).
• Fire extinguisher (ABC type). Having two around is a good thing and will give you piece of mind if you have to use one of them.
• Duct tape.
• Cash (bills and change). Don't go overboard here, maybe around $100 in total. Just be sure to have it in smaller bills (1's and 5's) and a few quarters.
• String or twine.
• Basic tools such as pliers, utility knife, shut off wrenches for gas and water, etc.
• Whistle. This can be used for signaling someone for help or for scaring away animals (and sometimes people).
• Two week supply of nonperishable food that doesn't require refrigeration or cooking (Gatorade, protein bars, peanut butter, etc). If it is cold weather you can store food outside, just make sure it's secured against animals. Sterno Canned Heat can be used to warm up food or cook it (to a certain degree) and there not that hard to find.
• Two week supply of clean drinking water for each family member. A person needs 1 gallon of water per day at the minimum. Hot weather or a medical emergency can increase that amount. Buying commercially bottled water from the store is easiest way to do this. I like using those big 5 gallon jugs of water that go in my water dispenser at home. Just keep in mind to rotate bottles to use the oldest first. Also keep in mind that water weighs a lot, so don't put it on something that won't hold the weight.
• Chlorine bleach and disinfectants. Use a few drops of chloring bleach per gallon of water to make it drinkable in an emergency.
• Chemical heat and cold packs.
• Plastic sheeting. Seal up windows for added warmth, keeping out water, and many other things.
• Surgical masks with a rating of N-95 or higher. This is as a result of all the airborne scares we've had as of late, but you probably shouldn't be going out at all if you have to have one of these.
NOTE: If you have a baby, pets, or an older person to care for you'll definitely need to add a few more items to your emergency preparedness kit (formula, diapers, bottles, pet food, powdered milk, etc.).