Not having the proper equipment during an emergency is the same as not having any supplies in an emergency at all. There are lots of pre-made kits on the market. However, the bags rarely hold up, and typically the supplies inside are cheaply made and not up to par. The best way to know you have the correct gear for an emergency is to research your own. But, where do you start? One of the main reasons people buy the ready-made kits is because they have no idea what they need or what are good quality items. During an actual emergency, is not the time to find out you do not have something or that your equipment is defective and not up to par. The best gear for emergency preparedness is compact and lightweight. Make sure the items you choose are highly rated and certified as well as within expiration dates.
To understand what the best gear is for your emergency pack, you will need to research the types of potential disasters in your area, and then make the kit accordingly. FEMA provides a more in-depth list of what you should add based on the type of hazards in your area, but all bags, no matter where you are at, start with the basics. In any disaster, you will need the essential items for survival; food, water, fire, an emergency radio, and a good first aid kit. They should be the first things you purchase along with a strong pack. Other items you will want to include are a compass, utility tool, and a signal mirror or whistle.
Your Emergency Bag
Your pack is the first element of your kit, without it you have no way to store your items or take them with you should you have to evacuate. You will want to purchase a large enough bag to store supplies for at least 72 hours. The best type of pack for this is what’s called a tactical backpack. Commonly used in the military, these bags are designed to be durable and multifunctional allowing for the maximum use. They come in several sizes and for those of you that like options, several color choices.
A high-carb food supply that will last for a minimum of 72 hours should be the next thing on the list. There are many prepackaged food options available today. There are non-GMO, freeze dried, and gluten-free options as well as packages that come in both individual and family sizes. When purchasing these make sure to check their shelf life to ensure they will last.
Your water source can very easily become contaminated in the event of a disaster. There are several water treatment options available such as purification tablets, personal water filter straws, and stand-alone bottle filter systems. When purchasing one of these, be sure to check to see what bacteria and pathogens it will remove, as well as how many gallons it will filter, before it no longer works correctly.
A Source of Fire
Without fire, you cannot stay warm and dry, cook, or boil water. There are several products on the market including waterproof matches and fire strikers. Fire strikers can withstand hundreds of strikes before they are no longer usable, but it is always best to have a backup. Adding waterproof matches to your gear list will ensure you have a secondary, lightweight option should you need it.
A Durable Weather Radio
It is important during a disaster to be able to know what is going on around you. Your emergency radio should have the capability to listen to AM/FM channels as well as NOAA weather reports. Most of them come with a combination of radio, flashlight, and cell phone charging ports, making them more useful than ever. You can also get battery powered radios with an optional crank or solar-powered backup power.
Your First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit is an invaluable asset. Keep one in your tow vehicle, one in your RV, and one in your emergency bag. There are several good kits on the market each with slightly different items depending on your needs. The best ones to look for should be lightweight, have a waterproof case, contain individually sealed items, and have labeled sections for quickly locating supplies.
While these are not the only things you will want to add to your bag, they are a good starting point and some of the more valuable items to include. You can find a complete list of emergency supplies needed on the FEMA website.