Choosing Items for a Preparedness Kit
When you’re choosing items to put into a preparedness kit, the first stage – as with so many projects – is brainstorming. You don’t want to just start buying and storing random items off the shelf. Even if these items are all useful, choosing them at random without any kind of plan is likely to lead to large gaps and imbalances in your kit.
When an emergency does arrive, you don’t want to find out that you have four flashlights on hand (because you forgot about buying the first three), two days supply of protein, three weeks supply of other food, a water filter, and a huge stockpile of space blankets but no heat source for your house in the absence of regular fuel deliveries. It may sound stupid, but it’s all too easy for someone without a plan to buy an absolutely useless group of items while distracted by everyday cares.
You first need to determine what your preparedness kit is for. A home disaster preparedness kit is intended to help your long term survival in the absence of the usual amenities of modern society. This means that it needs to be both large and various, the items in it chosen to provide for many different contingencies, ranging from providing clean food and water to defending yourself against both human and animal aggression.
Conversely, a car preparedness kit needs to kept much lighter and “leaner”, since it has to be carried in your car, and is more focused on light repairs or temporary survival in case of stranding. It should comprise many items that would have little or no use around the home, so if you are planning several preparedness kits, you will need a separate list for each.
Once you have a good idea of what your preparedness kit is for, you can start writing down lists of items that are needed for the kit. Give each function of the kit a separate notebook page, and don’t hesitate to add more functions if some occur to you while you are expanding your list. Write down everything that occurs to you at this point – right now, you are just brainstorming and trying to get a complete a list of possibilities as you can.
Having another person to discuss the list with is always helpful. Although the individual mind is capable of acts of great creativity, it never hurts to have someone else to bounce your ideas off, especially when you’re just trying to list as many possibilities as you can.
Next, you need to go over your list, keep an eye out for omissions, and eliminate anything that really isn’t needed but that crept in anyway. Streamline, but don’t remove anything useful.
Finally, prioritize your list. You probably do not have the money to buy everything on your list at once, especially if it is a general disaster preparedness kit for the home. Therefore, figure out which things it is most important to have (usually water and food), and work through your list in order of necessity, buying the items as you get the money to do so.