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10 Must-Have Items for Your Emergency Kit


Sep. 10, 2018 Kiplinger

Americans always should be prepared for an emergency situation. Floods, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes — you name it — can be ruinous, especially if you’re not prepared.

Every home should have a survival kit: a self-contained collection of gear that can be grabbed and thrown in the car (or carried if need be), with everything you and your family need to survive on your own in the event of a disaster.

Durable Backpack

You need something to hold your survival kit, after all. It needs to be large (but not overwhelming), comfortable to wear and tough.

The established outdoor companies offer plenty of choices, but I’d recommend something like L.L. Bean’s Maine Warden Day Pack. The company says this backpack is standard issue to all Maine State Game Wardens. It’s water-resistant with a waterproof bottom. It has waterproof and padded compartments and plenty of room, so it will hold all your survival gear and keep electronics safe.

Portable Water Filter

If disaster strikes and you’re forced to leave your home, access to clean, drinkable water is critical. You can only carry so many bottles, and it can take time for fresh water to reach survivors.

The Sawyer Mini ($25) is a portable water filter that weighs just 2 ounces and costs only $25. You can thread it right onto a standard bottle or fill the included pouch. The filter removes “99.99999%” of all bacteria and protozoa, including salmonella, cholera and E. coli.

Sawyer says the filter is good for 100,000 gallons of water. Given that humans need under a gallon of water per day to survive, this filter will keep you going for a very long time.

First Aid Kit

No survival kit is complete without a well-stocked first aid kit. You may have injuries to deal with before emergency responders can get to you. And leaving in a hurry — sometimes through treacherous terrain — can result in scrapes and sprains. Getting open wounds sterilized and bandaged gains more urgency when they might be exposed to contaminants like those commonly found in floodwater.

The American Red Cross offers a Deluxe Family First Aid Kit that packs everything you’ll need to treat common injuries, including cuts, scrapes, swelling and sprains. It also includes a binder with instructions on how to properly treat these injuries.

Emergency Radio

An emergency radio is a must-have in any survival kit. Cellular networks may be down, but an old-school radio gives you access to critical information without an internet connection.

The Midland ER310 Emergency Crank Radio is an excellent choice. It’s compact at under 1.5 pounds. It receives AM and FM radio, as well as all seven NOAA weather bands. If a weather emergency is broadcast (reporting a tornado, for example), it can sound an alert so you’re not caught off guard. Its battery is good for up to 32 hours of use, and you can charge it with the built-in hand crank, or using its integrated solar cells.

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