All levels of government advise you to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster or other major crisis. There are some good commercial emergency kits but they always need your personal touch! Let’s take one 4-person kit apart and see what you get. The international standard is that a household should be equipped to last at least 72 hours before authorities can attend to them.
Why is this? There will usually be other households, communities, and regions worse hit than yours or mine. Roads to reach you may also be blocked for days. But perhaps, you are amongst the hardest hit and must manage your crisis for the first 4-48 hours. Earthquakes, major storms, industrial accidents, and so on could damage your home and leave you stuck inside.
In this Better Preparedness episode, I unbox an Earthquake Emergency Kit as you can buy it from Amazon. Let’s take a look inside. For most households, these kits are a good starting point and get the ball rolling. Make sure you inspect everything and identify what’s in it and what’s missing to meet your needs, your risks, your family size, your environment, … No store-bought kit is perfect, so tailor it to your needs.
Also think about where the kit needs to be located in terms of having it when and where you need it. Night time is when we often get caught off guard because of sleeping, so consider keeping the kit in your bedroom.
Remember to replace what eventually expires!
Here are some good starter kits:
Mayday Earthquake Kit Deluxe Home Honey Bucket Survival Emergency: https://amzn.to/2I7REG7
Complete Earthquake Bag – Most Popular Emergency kit for Earthquakes, Hurricanes, floods + Other disasters: https://amzn.to/2GdyCfn
Sustain Supply Co. Essential 2-Person Emergency Survival Bag/Kit: https://amzn.to/2GrD89G
Emergency Zone 4 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Survival Kit/Go-Bag: https://amzn.to/2GfQshY
For this episode, I will show you what came in my Mayday Earthquake Kit Deluxe Home Honey Bucket Survival 4-Person Emergency Kit:
Firstly, it is important to note that suppliers of these kits can easily change the contents of these kits. My kit had been purchased a number of years ago. Always check what is supposed to come with your kit.
Unpacked, this is what it looks like. Note the lid of the 5-gallon bucket has two parts and is actually a toilet seat and lid! Brilliant! More on that later in the article.
This 4-person kit could with emergency rations of water. There are four re-usable plastic bags (with a spout) that each contains 6 water pouches of 125ml. If you do the math, that’s a mere 750ml of water per person. This is survival water. You should always have far, far more emergency water in your home! If you were stuck in your bedroom because of collapsed walls, this water could help keep you alive for a bit but not long.
Emergency Food Rations (4 bars)
Let’s classify these “Emergency Food Rations” as being “keep you alive”. These are lost at sea type of rations where the 2,400 calories in each bar may hopefully give your body enough to keep going. Always consider adding far more edible and enjoyable food.
1 Pair of Work Gloves
This part I do not understand. Why only 1 pair of standard work gloves in a 4-person kit? I recommend more.
Duct Tape and Miscellaneous
You get a 10 yard (about 9m) roll of duct tape. Within that roll were 6 cleansing toilettes, waterproof matches and a bottle of water purifying tablets.
This 5-in-1 Survival Whistle contains the whistle, a liquid compass, a signalling mirror, storage container, and flint. Remember, this is emergency survival grade of equipment. For any type of regular use equipment, you would want a higher quality, more durable, and more effective product.
Wind-Up LED Flashlight and FM Radio
As mentioned in the YouTube unboxing episode, this kit contains items likely to be used in different phases of a crisis. If it’s dark inside or outside, you’ll need to have emergency lighting and ensure that batteries cannot leave you stranded. Hence the hand crank to charge this unit.
And once the dust settles, having the FM radio may enable you to listen for emergency radio broadcast updates (if there are any). Also, in a time of crisis, you might be able to lift the spirits of your crisis companions with music via FM stations.
A Utility Knife (Box Cutter)
It will be a variety of tools that comes in hand. This sharp utility knife might help cut something. Keep in mind that these blades can snap.
A 4-in-1 Emergency Tool
This metal tool 28cm (11inches) metal tool could be used in a variety of ways including shut off natural gas or propane lines, to shut off water lines, pry open doors, or dig through debris. Or whatever else you can find to do with it.
A 12-Hour Glow Stick
As with the single pair of work gloves, I am puzzled that there is only one glow stick. Needless to say that I recommend more.
Four Mylar Emergency Survival Rescue Blankets
I am a big fan of mylar foil emergency blankets. They will not replace proper warm clothing and shelter, but for their ultra-light weight, they do amazingly well at providing some shelter from the wind and rain, and most importantly keeping you warmer than otherwise. Along with a few small pieces of duct tape, you use a mylar blanket to make a simple shelter.
I recommend you read my Better Preparedness article: http://betterpreparedness.com/mylar-blanket-unwrapped-how-to-use-it/
Four Plastic Emergency Rain Ponchos
I am also a big fan of emergency rain ponchos. They will not replace proper waterproof clothing and staying out of the rain, but for their ultra-light weight, they do amazingly well at providing some rain protection. If you have to vacate your home after a catastrophic earthquake or tropical storm and you only an emergency rain poncho, you’d still be glad you had it!
Twelve Toilet Bags and One Bag of Toilet Deodorant (Combined with the Bucket and Toilet Seat)
If your home plumbing ceases to work, or you had to flee your home, or you were stuck in your home for days waiting out the disaster or bad weather, having a toilet is a good thing and likely to lift the spirits. Using the 5-gallon bucket, the toilet seat, and one of the dozen toilet bags, you have a decent emergency toilet. Closing the lid and using some of the toilet deodorant can help limit the smell. I think it’s brilliant.
Keep in mind that you may need to be creative if various scenarios occur. You may need a decent tool like this to pry open a stuck window or stuck door. Perhaps you need to reach your children but they’re door is jammed shut. The prybar (crowbar) might do the trick.
Mini 1st Aid Kit
Yes, this is a very primitive first ait kit. I agree. Unless a disaster struck the moment you took delivery of the kit, you are able to assemble a far more competent 1st aid kit. This basic kit may help you a bit but not too much. Also be mindful of the expiry dates of these 1st aid supplies and medications. In a life or death situation and if faced with expired items, it will be a judgement call whether you use expired items and also depend just how expired.
Remember to identify your 10 critical home systems!!!