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Equipped to Survive

How to be Equipped to Survive

Preparing for an emergency does not have to be a daunting task. When most people think about disaster preparedness or emergency kits, they think about expensive survival equipment or too much preparation. Neither of these is necessary though. Preparing an emergency kit that will last at least 3 days is quite easy with a short trip to the store(s). If you would like to purchase a commercial kit, visit a site such as

There is an extensive list of emergency supplies found at which includes an already prepared 72 hr emergency kit. There are a few different types of kits that you can put together. There is a basic kit which includes the essentials and then there are emergency kits for your home and vehicle, containing additional items for emergencies such as snow storms.

The established time of 72 hrs has been determined based on the length of time that government services are restored. These services need time to organize and get supplies moved, etc. during natural disasters so it is important to be prepared until they are readily available to you. If you live in an area that is more prone to a natural disaster such as hurricanes, earthquake, or flood then you may need to be prepared to fend for yourself for a longer period of time. This will certainly save you from scrambling to stay warm, find food and other essentials.

If you do not want to take the time to put together your own kit then there are kits that are already prepared that can be purchased. The most essential items you need to survive are food and shelter but having other items available such as food, items to keep you warm, and medical supplies are advantageous. Make sure you have the basics though.

Sustaining Life

The one thing that is absolutely necessary to sustain life is water. A person can go weeks without food but without water, it is very likely that you will not survive. Most commercial emergency kits do not contain water, the most basic and necessary item. Although some kits do contain water packets or even up to 1 liter of water, the fact is that this is still not enough. As a minimum, each person should have at least 1 gallon of water per day. So, if you have a family of five then you would need a total of 15 gallons to last 3 days. If you live in an extremely hot climate then it would be beneficial to have additional water available.

Normally, the bottled water available in grocery stores can be stored for up to 2 yrs. However, it is important to check the expiration dates and rotate when you are storing it. The water will be safer if stored out of direct sunlight or frozen in the freezer. If you do store your water in the freezer be sure to leave a bit of room at the top of the container to prevent it from bursting. You also want to make sure that you freeze your water in plastic containers versus glass ones since the glass can break.

If you are in a situation where you do not have clean drinking water available during an emergency then you can treat the water so it is suitable for drinking and cooking. To do this, you want to have liquid household chlorine bleach available that has at least 8.25% sodium hypochlorite in it. Do not use scented bleach! Bleach can expire, so be sure to rotate out your supply every three months. To purify your water, use six drops of bleach per gallon of water. Stir the water then cover it and allow to stand for 30 minutes. When you take the cap off after 30 minutes you should smell the chlorine. However, if you don’t then repeat the dosage, stir, cover and let stand for another 15 minutes. If the chlorine taste is too strong, pour the water from one container into another and let stand for a few hours. Once completed, cover the container tightly and label it with the date it was treated.

As mentioned previously, food is not absolutely necessary to survive for the first few days or even up to a week or more. However, the energy that food provides will make things much easier for you. Most commercial kits contain food consisting of 600-1200 calories per day. However, 2000 calories is recommended. Items such as nuts, energy bars, trail mix and anything that consists of complex carbohydrates and some fats are best for providing energy.

Other things you need to consider when storing food items are children and pets. If you have infant(s) then you will need things like powdered formula and sterile containers. Your pets will also need pet food and water.


In some cases, emergency shelter might be necessary. If you are unable to make it to an actual shelter then you may need items such as extra blankets, tarps, or even large 33 gallon garbage bags to help keep you warm and/or dry. You may also want to have an extra set of warm clothing for each person if you live in a colder climate.

Other items you will want to consider include those used to start a fire such as waterproof matches or a lighter. You can also purchase small fire starters which are available with camping supplies. If you need to cook, a small camping stove and extra fuel tablets will come in very handy. Keep in mind that you will also need utensils and something to cook in.

First Aid Kit

Although convenient, most commercial first aid kits do not include the items necessary for a true emergency. To find an adequate kit, you may have to search your local outdoor sporting store or put one together yourself.

Emergency kits should include a variety of adhesive bandages and tape, as well as some rolled bandages and an elastic one. An antiseptic such as iodine and antibiotic ointments are also important. You may also want to include hand sanitizer and antibiotic soap as well as an analgesic for aches and pains. Items such as prescription medication and a spare set of glasses (if you wear them) should also be considered.

Emergency Tools

During an emergency such as a natural disaster, you may need items such as a multipurpose tool (screwdriver, can opener, knife) or a small tool set and a pair of work gloves. A flashlight will come in handy as well but make sure you have one that is fairly rugged and will last for awhile. You will also need extra batteries (Alkaline or Lithium). A lantern may also come in very handy!


During an emergency you want to stay informed and not be cut off from the outside world. Therefore, you want to have a battery operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries. Spare batteries or an alternative method for charging your cell phone could also be useful since text messaging can be a great source of communication when calls do not go through.


In addition to food, water, shelter, and medical supplies, there are some other items you can include in your emergency kit to provide piece of mind. These items include important papers, spare keys, identification, calling cards, sewing kit, and toilet paper. The list really goes on and on. The important thing is to remember that you have the basics available and then, if you want to include extra items then feel free to do so. However, you will need to ensure that you have an emergency survival kit that you can grab in a hurry and is easy to carry.