Sometimes, when the words emergency preparedness are uttered, we automatically think big: years of food storage, a power generator, a four-room tent, and a Bear River Rocket Stove (you can’t blame us for the shameless plug!) But really, emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be a herculean task. What we mean is: don’t put off preparing for an emergency because it sounds too hard or is more of an investment than you can afford.
Emergency preparedness isn’t always about that big earthquake, that disastrous flood, or that widespread power outage. Sometimes being prepared means you have a way to light your barbeque on your picnic, you’ve got a backup source of water when you’re out hiking, or you need to shield yourself from the rain while watching a track meet. Taking the time to gather these few supplies will help you be prepared for situations--big or small-- that require some quick thinking and a few necessities.
Knives are often an indispensable emergency preparedness item. There are many uses for knives in our everyday lives such as opening containers or preparing food. UrbanSurvivalSite gives us some ways knives would come in handy such as self defense, first aid, hunting, wood splinting, fire starter, and to path clearing.
Of course, the most extreme emergency situation for a knife would be if you were being attacked by a wild animal or for hunting if you were stranded in the woods without a gun. A knife is also good for first aid, you could use it to create a splint, or brace or even to cut cloth for bandages. You can also split wood to make a fire or build a safe shelter. In a pinch, knives can be used in place of a drill, screwdriver, or hammer (remember, safety first!)
2) Water purification tablets or a small bottle of bleach:
Water is crucial to survival. In a life or death situation, having clean water is vital. If you don’t clean your water you are likely to drink water that contains harmful bacteria. If you’re not close to medical care, drinking contaminated water could be deadly. So a good thing to have is a way to purify water. If you have a way to clean water, like bleach or chlorine tablets, you can just about get water anywhere: lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, etc. This link gives helpful information on how to treat and clean water with bleach. It’s best not to use any water with things floating in it and to also remove as much dirt as possible.
While you may not have a water filter yet, it’s a good item to save up for. In the meantime, it’s worth spending a few dollars to have chlorine tablets available for an emergency.
3) Metal Cup:
When you think of surviving in a sticky situation, a cup may not come to mind as one of the most important emergency survival items, but while it’s just a cup, it can impact the turnout positively. It’s a great way to hold, carry, and share water. It can also hold your food that way your food can still be clean when you eat it. If your cup is metal, you can use it to boil water (especially useful if you have no other way to purify your water). A metal cup is also useful for cooking. Banging on your cup with a rock or other hard object is a handy way to signal to others.
There are many practical uses for a lighter. Really, if you have a lighter you can pretty much start a fire wherever there is fuel, a definite bonus in an emergency situation. As a member of the human race, you don’t need to be reminded the benefits of fire: cooking, warmth, light, signals, and safety. You may never need it, but if you are ever in a situation where you do, you’ll be glad you spent a few bucks to have a lighter in your car, pack, or purse.
While it’s sometimes difficult to know if your lighter has fluid left in it, matches, if kept dry, are a sure-fire emergency solution. We recommend having both a lighter and matches, just in case. (After all, that’s what emergency preparedness is based on: ‘just in case!’) In addition to starting fires, matches act as tinder (albeit a very small amount). Burnt matches also make an excellent make-shift writing tool.
6) Fire Starter:
A fire starter helps keep a small flame burning long after matches would have gone out. While there are several commercial fire starters out there, the best one we’ve found is dryer lint stuffed in a egg carton, covered in candle wax. The individual sections can be ripped apart and used to start a fire.
Three of the nine essential emergency survival items on our list have to do with fire. We realize we’re pretty obsessed with starting and keeping a fire. After all, Bear River Rocket Stoves run entirely on fire!
7) Chocolates and Candy:
While the body can survive a few days without food, in a rough situation, candy can be a perfect pick-me-up. While hard candy stores well (practically forever), chocolate bars, even if they are melted, would be a welcome reprieve in an emergency situation. The extra calories in chocolates or candies can soothe dry mouths, boost spirits, and even be essential for someone with low blood sugar.
8) Emergency Blanket:
There are so many uses for an emergency blanket such as providing warmth, adding an extra layer in sleeping bag, or using it as a signal device. These compact emergency blankets cost only a few dollars and are usually made of mylar. They can be used to melt snow, to catch water, or to make a small rain shelter. Emergency blankets can be used as rope material, a pack to carry items, a sling or a compression bandage, a net for fishing, a tablecover or ground cover, or a sun shield.
These emergency preparedness blankets aren’t limited to emergencies. Emergency blankets come in handy as table covers for picnics, rain covers at games, or even picnic blankets. Keep several in your car--chances are a situation might arise where it comes in handy!
When thinking disaster survival, probably thoughts of rappelling, constructing a raft, building a shelter, or completing a daring rescue are the first situations that come to mind. Of course, these situations would need a good rope--and the knot-tying-know-how.
A length of paracord can be used to tie a splint, secure a bandage, make a snare, pull heavy loads, dry clothes, or tie food up to keep animals away. Internal strands of rope or cord can be could also be used for fishing. Like an emergency blanket, cord or rope has a variety of uses in an emergency survival situation. When paired with your emergency blanket, the uses are nearly innumerable.
Here, we’re talking about nine simple emergency preparedness items to be kept in your car, briefcase, purse, or hiking pack. Most of these emergency preparedness articles are probably lying around your house already. Why not take 10 minutes to gather theses articles together in a bag to keep handy?