18 Critical Items that May Save Your Life in an Emergency
As natural disasters continue to devastate the United States and countries around the world, we are exposing just how unprepared we are to handle them. While natural disasters are unpredictable, one thing is clear – they will inevitably continue to happen. However, there doesn’t seem an urgency for families to prepare themselves for such emergencies. A poll a few years ago revealed that 44% of Americans don’t even have a first aid kit.
Doomsday Preppers, a show that aired on National Geographic showed people around the US who have done everything to building bunkers, to acquiring weapons for defense, stacking their basements with year’s worth of supplies to conducting emergency evacuation drills with their entire families. While these people may seem strange to us and their preparedness may seem excessive, our unpreparedness for the unlimited amount of possible dangerous scenarios is even more mind-boggling.
Here are what experts believe to be real threats that we should be prepared for:
Even a power outage, which is extremely common, lasting for more than a week could prove to be disastrous without preparation. If any disaster or serious emergency were to strike, what tools do you have ready within the hour to leave your home or to survive? I believe that every home at the very least should contain a basic survival kit for their family. One that you could grab and run out of your house within minutes, or even hide safely within your shelter, giving you and your family the best chances to wait out whatever disaster is happening.
Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit
Here are 18 items that every house should keep in a safe and accessible place in their home regardless of where they live. Ideally, you should have at least 1 week’s supply for each member of the family, but having even one of these kits will increase your chances of making it through many types of dangerous scenarios.
Not Just for Emergencies
The best thing about all these items is that not only you are investing in the safety of your family, but that you can always use these tools for many other things like camping trips or whenever a task calls for it around the house. They are multi-purpose and long-lasting. You spend thousands of dollars on insurance every year which does nothing during the time of a disaster, so it’s important to have real tools that will help you in the time of need.
To store your items you will need a backpack. However, if you are encountering a storm or something that can soak your backpack and ruin your kit, you will need a weatherproof backpack. The Voli backpack is a great start as it has 20L of space and can be also used for hiking, kayaking, and many other non-emergency activities.
A first-aid kit is an absolute must in every house. Simple injuries like cuts and scrapes occur far too frequently not to have this cheap yet potentially-life saving item in your house. For the price of two coffees, you can have a kit that is enough for 10 people.
Emergency Uses: addressing wounds and injuries quickly
A chainsaw may not be the first thing you think of bringing with you in a case of emergency, but the truth is, it’s a critical tool for survival. It allows you to gather wood fast and cut many tough items that you will not be able to with a pocket knife or even a machete.
Emergency uses: gathering firewood, making other tools
Most people don’t realize that they may need to boil water or to make food in the case of emergency. However, most house cookware is not portable enough to be brought and will consume most of your space. A lightweight, portable cookware set may just save your life or at the very least provide you with food options.
In the case of emergency, radio becomes a very important item to know what may be going on. Cell towers can go down very quickly or simply become overloaded, making it impossible to use your cell phone. This one also comes with a bright LED flashlight which is always a must. It also comes with a power bank to charge your phone or anything else that is USB powered. The best part? It’s powered by solar energy and it also has a hand crank in case you want to use it when there is no sunlight.
Emergency uses: getting emergency broadcasts, charging your devices, finding your way around in the dark
After or during the disaster when emergency vehicles and aircraft are looking to rescue survivors, you will need to get their attention. While a flare gun may be the easiest way to get noticed, you only get a limited opportunity to be seen. These glowsticks can function up to 200 hours in the flasher mode, they have a LED flashlight and a whistle as well.
Emergency uses: getting yourself noticed by emergency rescuers, finding your way around in the dark
Fire becomes a vital tool for survival when you need food, warmth, or clean water. However, regular matches or lighters will do nothing in the case of bad weather. Even the slightest wind could prevent you from starting that fire that may save your life. These matches are stormproof. They are super easy to light and they will burn up to 15 seconds, giving you ample opportunity to start a fire.
Clean water is essential to all life. However, in the case of emergency, clean water may be hard to come by. This water bottle can filter 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites without chemicals, batteries or iodine. It can filter up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water. It is BPA and Phthalate-Free. If you need something bigger, you can get the LifeStraw family water purifier which can purify up to 18,000 liters (4755 gallons) of water. If you want to go smaller, check out the original LifeStraw filter. While it doesn’t filter out heavy metals, water-borne viruses (rare in North American backcountry) or desalinate water, it will do much better than anything you can grab on the go.
A fixed blade knife can come in handy not just as a cutting tool for food, rope, but also for self-defense. In a disaster scenario, you may not only be fighting against mother nature but other people who may take advantage of the situation to get what they want. This knife used by Bear Grills also has paracord which can come in handy in variety situations.
It may seem like a strange survival item but duct tape has long proven itself as a fix-it for almost anything. So if you need to build tools, fix something up or make yourself a cast, duct tape may just save your life.
Emergency uses: making tools, repairs, first-aid
Other uses: just about anythingWind-Resistant Balaclava
If you live in a colder climate or if an emergency happens in the winter, the cold could prove itself to be just as dangerous as whatever emergency you are facing. Thus to make your way through the outdoors or even do simple things such as setting up a place to sleep or start a fire may be impossible if you are in the cold. A wind-resistant balaclava may be quite useful.
Emergency uses: freezing weather
Other uses: outdoor work in cold temperatures, winter sports, cold day in the city
In an event of an emergency, you may be out of luck when it comes to food. Stores may be sacked or you may not be able to get them. In that case, you will have to rely on whatever is in your house. Unfortunately, a lot of foods can go bad, and it’s not ideal to keep rebuying emergency food. Your best solution is to get a month’s supply of freeze-dried food that you can either snack on or simply pour a cup of hot water on and eat. But since your good health and the immune system is vital for survival, natural food should be your goal. Valley food storage makes healthy freeze-dried products that last up to 25 years. This one is enough for a single person for a month.
Emergency uses: food
Other uses: have a fun night with your family eating survival food and discuss possible scenarios and emergency plans
If you live in an area with hurricane or flooding history, an inflatable boat may just keep you alive in a time of emergency. It’s important to get one especially if some of your family members don’t know how to swim or if driving suddenly becomes too dangerous. You can inflate it on your roof and take off if it gets to that level. Make sure you have a manual pumping ability, in case batteries are dead for automatic pump. You also want to make sure the boat holds enough people. This one is for 3 people. The best part about this is that you can use the boat for camping trips, going to the lake and just about anywhere else. You should also get life vests in case the boat sinks, flips or if you are unable to swim.
If your home is no longer accessible, you may need to find another shelter. A tent isn’t always the best option in a survival kit as it is rather large and takes a long time to set up. If you are on the move from any kind of danger, you may not have either of those luxuries. A tarp can be a great way to get some cover from the rain, wind, or cold weather.
Emergency uses: shelter
Other uses: truck bed cover, roof patch, drop sheet
Whether you are on a long hike, building a fire, working with tools, your hands are one of your most important tools for survival. If you cut your hand or injure it, it may hinder your chances of surviving. Tactical gloves can come in handy in a bad situation where dexterity and protection are needed.
Emergency uses: protect your hands
Other uses: sports that put wear and tear on your hands, climbing, biking
This kit contains a variety of essential tools in a lightweight and indestructible package. It has fire starters, 150-pound-test braided nylon cord, stainless steel wire, emergency sewing and fishing kit, compass, folding knife, and fire sparker. While this kit does have a lot of items, it needs to be supplemented with items on this list to have a comprehensive emergency survival kit.
Emergency uses: nearly every situation
Other uses: camping or whenever you may need any of the tools
19. Compact Multi-tool
There are too many emergency scenarios to account for, so you don’t know what combination of circumstances you will encounter. So another great addition to this list is a multi-tool that can do many tasks in case of emergency. This is one of the most portable and key elements.
Our best recommendation is the Leatherman multi-tool. It has 16 tools that may come in handy in an emergency. It is pricey but it comes with a 25-year warranty and can be used in daily situations.
Another great multi-tool is the Swiss Army knife. It’s a little less pricey and contains about 38 different functions.
The last one is a Smith & Wesson knife. We recommend it because it contains a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter which can be useful in a variety of car emergencies.
Build Your Survival Kit Now
Don’t wait to prepare for an emergency. Think of this as a one-time insurance payment, but insurance that can help you in a time when disaster strikes. Every day you make payments for your home, car, and health insurance. However, none of these things will help you in any situation other than financial. All of these tools can be used in everyday situations as well, so they will serve their purpose one way or another. If you move, you can always sell the kit or give it to your loved ones.
One of the most important things aside from the survival kit is to know what to do in each scenario. Discuss emergency routes and different emergencies with your family. Where to meet? Who to call? What’s the best evacuation route? Different scenarios will require different actions and there will be almost no time to get something in place once something does happen. Have the peace of mind and plan ahead.
Fill Up Ahead of Time
Many people go to the gas station and only fill up 10-25% of their gas tank. However, your tank should be full whenever possible. In an emergency, you’ve seen how quickly gas stations run out of gas and how quickly the cars pile up. If you need to get out of town you don’t have an hour to waste to get gas.
Keep Your Survival Kit Close
A survival kit is no good if you can’t access it. A car’s trunk is a great place to hold it. The next best thing is a safe but accessible area in your home like your basement.