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Adagio's avatar

What items would you include in a home survival/emergency kit?

Asked by Adagio (10882 points ) September 4th, 2010

Yesterday Christchurch (NZ) experienced a significant earthquake . Uncannily, earlier this week I had been thinking I should prepare a survival/emergency kit to have at the ready in the event of some kind of disaster. Although not personally effected by the earthquake it certainly provides a very strong incentive to prepare the kit and not allow the idea to simply sit on the backburner of my mind. I thought of a number of items including a small battery-operated transistor radio, a good supply of batteries, candles and matches. What other items would you include?

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13 Answers

muppetish's avatar

I’m a worried wart and the first thing I tell to everybody who announces they are moving is to purchase a good emergency kit. They rarely listen to me, but I swear they will come in handy one day. You should have a small kit on hand (bandages, swabs, tweezers, etc.), one in your car, and one in your home.

Here a good, hefty emergency kit that should provide some ideas. Bottled water should be replaced periodically. There are also smaller personal emergency kits that you can put together if you have multiple people per household (and they should be placed in an easy to access location in the house.)

There are medical supply stores you can purchase items from. I had a good one bookmarked, but lost it when I had to wipe my laptop clean. I’m sure you can find some in a couple searches after you’ve gathered a checklist of items to purchase.

I know people rarely think about it, but you should also have a change of clothing already set aside that can be easily grabbed in the event of an emergency. Little things like this are good to think of in advance.

This is an Earthquake Safety list. My house if far from earthquake safe, but we rarely get more than aftershocks here. I wish everyone who was in, or knows someone who was in, the New Zealand eartquake the best of health.

jazmina88's avatar

water, can opener, cooler, rx box, lighter, blanket, batteries, insulin, needles

i dont know if i would ever leave here, except tornado. I have stayed in long blackouts.

faye's avatar

I’d make sure to have lots of water, canned goods and can opener, and toilet paper. Maybe we should have Coleman stoves and fuel.

jazmina88's avatar

i forgot the toilet paper :(:(

TexasDude's avatar

Think of the main things one would need in a survival scenario remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

1. A source of heat and light (fire)
2. Water
3. Shelter (what if your roof blows off or you have to evac your house?)
4. Food
5. Defense (optional, depending on the type of trouble you are expecting)

In that order.

First, let’s address the issue of heat and light. It’s a good idea to have a dynamo powered flashlight. These don’t require batteries and often double as a radio. You should also keep a supply of Bic lighters (cheap and easy to use) and some waterproof matches as backup, or a magnesium fire starter. If it gets bad enough that you have to build a campfire somewhere, you shouldn’t have a problem finding fuel for your fire.

Now, for water. You can buy it in packets by the case, or just buy several jugs, multiple gallon drums, or cases of bottled water. You should have a backup way of obtaining water should you have to get on the move. I recommend iodine (found in first aid kits, commonly) and filter straws, but UV water purifiers and water purification tablets are good also. Keep in mind that none of these methods actually filter sediments from water. That you will have to learn to do yourself.

Depending on the disaster, you may or may not be able to stay in your home. If you are forced to leave, or your home is somehow damaged or compromised, you will need shelter. Tarpaulin and paracord makes a good makeshift tent and other building materials can be scavenged. It helps to know how to make a shelter should your materials somehow be compromised.

Food wise, it is good to have a stock of canned and nonperishable foods. Be sure to cover the main food groups, if you can, as well as small, high energy snacks like M&Ms. It’s also a good idea to have some MREs around. These meals are high in calories and come with their own water-powered, catalytic self-heaters, as well as tasty side treats and useful items.

Now, for defense. Since you live in New Zealand, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. I don’t know what gun laws are like in New Zealand, but it would be prudent to invest in some type of self-defense weapon that can be used to protect yourself from anyone who decides they might want your stuff and aren’t willing to politely ask.

In addition to the above mentioned necessities, there are several other items that would be prudent to have in case of disasters.

These include:

A good first aid kit
Blankets
Pain, indigestion, and other medications and prescriptions
Rope (I highly recommend paracord because of its versatility)
Cash and important documents
A good folding knife, fixed blade knife, or multitool
Candles
Batteries
A small mirror
Fishing lines and hooks
Superglue (can be used in a pinch to treat severe wounds)
Duct tape
Soap and toiletries (especially toilet paper)
Plastic bags
EXTRA SOCKS AND GOOD SHOES/BOOTS (note the emphasis)
Warm outerclothes
Spices (salt, pepper, etc.)

The list could go on…

Here is a link that you may find useful.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Biiiiirth controlllll.

jazmina88's avatar

if I was outside in the woods or the street in a disaster, that would be my birth control..Oh, add a rape kit. I have a baseball bat for protection.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
LuckyGuy's avatar

How long are we talking. A few days? Food, water, and underwear.
Longer?
Water for three days, food, toothbrush and toothpaste, duct tape, baling wire, funnel, 10 sticks of trioxane, matches, leatherman, Henry AR-7 and ammo. I’m good to go.

lillycoyote's avatar

Though it’s hard to improve on @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard‘s list I would suggest a couple of other things: Depending on how long the disaster you are facing may last. 1. Have on hand a supply of whatever prescription drugs you or members of your family might be taking. This could be problematic, depending on what medications you are taking and whether federal law and/or your insurance company permits you to be prescribed more than a 30 day supply. The other thing I would recommend is some kind of “emergency entertainment kit” particularly if you have children. That may seem a little frivolous, but unless the disaster or emergency you are facing, unless merely fighting for your survival provides entertainment enough, you may find yourself and your children faced with long hours in a shelter somewhere, with no TV and possibly no access to power and you are going to want to have something for your kids and yourself to do or you’re just going to go absolutely crazy.

TexasDude's avatar

@lillycoyote brings up a good point that I forgot to mention. Even something as simple as a deck of cards would be a great addition to any survival kit. Morale is important to survival.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Yes, exactly, it’s just that it takes me 75 words, plus or minus, to say what someone else can say in 25, more or less. :-)

cazzie's avatar

Well, you live in NZ. It’s a relatively temperate climate where you are, so you’re spared the harshness that goes on in many places, and are saved from preparing for below 0 temps.
Figuring a really bad scenario:
You’d need freshwater, or a way to purify any ‘fresh’ water you might have access to where you are. But the CHCH quake was a terrible reminder how a source of what we think will be ‘fresh’ water quickly gets contaminated by broken sewer mains, so you need to take that into account. Know where your sewer lines are.

A really well supplied first aid kit would very much be in my survival kit. Right down to a mainline kit with a bag of saline. What kills most people isn’t starvation, but lack of fresh water and no access to speedy medical care. So, having those two things under control, you’re going to want some shelter and food.

Contact your regional fire department or Civil Defence. (I used to work for NZ Fire Service) They have lists and booklets on the subject. Waitakere is in a rural fire district, so I wouldn’t bother with that office (it’s run by the conservation office), but contact the Regional office… Auckland, 2 Poynton Terrace, Off Pitt Street, Newton, Auckland 1010
Phone: 09 302 5100

I also looked up your city council and they have a civil defence page… http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/AbtCit/cp/emgncyserv.asp

I would have a lot of dry wood to burn. Perhaps some red spirit to burn in a camp stove too. Something for lighting…. a gas lamp perhaps. I had a camp light that ran off a small LPG bottle and it had a valve I could connect to a gas cooker. All my camping gear would come out, if I could get at it….(note to self, put camping gear in better place for easier access…)

After, medical, water, shelter, food, safety,.. is boredom relief. Cards, a guitar, pen and paper. Another thing to think about is transport. Getting around when roads are messed up or no petrol is available can be a tricky prospect.

When my father in law went through WW2 in Northern Norway, he escaped a lot of trouble because he could ski and hung out a bit with the Sami people. His stories of the retreat of the German army and their scorched earth policy is tear wrenching. They ate canned sauerkraut for a whole winter that had survived in a warehouse that they burned. Until the Allied forces and Russians came to help.

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