Adding to your Emergency Kit
Although the emergency kit that you carry needs to be small and light enough so that you can bring it with you regardless of your location, there is no "written in stone" composition for an emergency kit. Note -- it is recommended that all emergency kits contain the following items, regardless of what else you decide to put into them: a good multitool, a smoke hood, a flashlight, some kind of small prying tool, and a thin but tough length of cord.
Once you have moved beyond the most basic level of emergency kit construction, you will need to be prepared to spend a certain amount of money to secure your safety better. Remember that well-designed tools made out of quality materials cost a bit more, but they are also far less likely to fail you in a life or death situation - the author has witnessed cheap Chinese screwdrivers shear off on their first attempt to loosen a screw, for example.
A good middle of the road emergency kit, one which will serve you much better than the stripped down version listed as the bare minimum in the previous article, might consist of the following items:
- A waterproof LED flashlight - this will not go out due to flat batteries, and if it is waterproof, you can use it in far more situations than one which will short out in the rain or if dropped into an inch of water on the floor.
- A miniature pry bar - these may be standard pry bar shapes in a small size, or a small shaped piece of metal with the edge adapted for several different prying tasks. You can open doors, windows, and access panels with this tool.
- A cheap whistle - being able to signal other people that you are nearby can prove invaluable when rescuers are in the vicinity. A whistle carries farther and penetrates more background noise than a human voice.
- A butane lighter and a book or small box of waterproof matches - the ability to be able to start fires for warmth or signaling can save your life in many situations.
- A good quality multitool - SOG and Victorinox are probably your best bets for multitools, as the former include U.S. manufactured parts and the latter are still made in Switzerland. High grade tool steel that will not break under normal use is used in their manufacture, whereas other brands are made in China, where fragile pot metal is often used for cheapness.
- A good quality smoke hood - this should be a full mask or a head-enclosing bag with a filter. This kind of hood will provide better protection against smoke and cannot slip off like the partial face respirator can. It is also better for those with facial hair.
- Emergency medical technician shears - for cutting through flexible substances quickly.
- A length of tough cord, such as mono filament fishing line or paracord.