Home Survival Kit

No matter where you live, there is a wide range of potential disasters that could happen, often at a moment's notice. Lately, it seems as though Mother Nature is very unhappy with us and, as a result, we're seeing very severe weather striking more and more frequently. A home survival kit will go a long way toward helping you and your family endure these disasters.

Home Survival Kit

The basic needs to be met by a home survival kit are water, food, shelter, first aid, and general safety. Let's take those one at a time.

For your water needs, you'll first want to have clean water stored ahead of any emergency. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use 2L soda bottles you've washed out. Fill them right to the brim with fresh water, then add a couple of drops of non-scented chlorine bleach. Close them up tight and write the date on the side of the bottle. This is important as you should rotate your stored water about every six months. You could also take a calendar and mark the date six months out to remind you.

Next, you'll want some method of purifying additional water should the need arise. While bringing water to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes is just about the best way, that requires fuel and time. Bleach can be used as well, but bear in mind that a bottle of bleach will degrade over time and become useless for this purpose after about 6-8 months. Pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) can be used to make a form of bleach that can then be used to purify water. Kept dry, it will last a very long time and one small bag can be used to purify thousands of gallons of water.

With food storage, the first principle to keep in mind is to store what you eat and eat what you store. Don't go out and buy a ton of dehydrated food if your family isn't accustomed to eating it. Stomach upset is no fun in the best of times, let alone during a crisis. Make a list of those food items your family normally consumes that don't require much in the way of preparation, such as crackers, canned tuna, peanut butter, dried fruit, and granola bars. These are the things you should stock up on and have on hand in your home survival kit. Other canned foods, such as pasta and soup, aren't bad ideas either but bear in mind you might not have the option of heating them before eating.

Shelter refers to not only a roof over your head but also clothing and other items to keep you warm and out of the elements. Be sure to have extra blankets during the cold weather, in the event of a power outage. While most of us probably have enough clothing already on hand, consider tossing into your home survival kit one or two complete changes of clothes for each family member. This keeps everything centralized and easy to grab if you need to evacuate. A tent may serve you well should you be unable to stay in your home.

As to medical needs, put together a comprehensive first aid kit. Include bandages, gauze, tape, antibiotic ointment, and burn cream. If any member of the family routinely takes certain medications, make sure you have some in the first aid kit and rotate it regularly so it doesn't expire before use. Your favorite over-the-counter remedies, such as for stomach upset, antacids, fever reducers, and pain relievers should be included as well.

For general safety needs, have in your home survival kit a crank-powered radio so you can keep informed of developing news, flashlights with extra batteries, work gloves, eye protection, and the ever-popular duct tape.

Hand tools will allow you to make expedient repairs as needed. Have a gas shut-off wrench and know how to use it, as well as a fire extinguisher.

Get together a home survival kit before you need it. Have your supplies stored in one location as much as possible. Doing so will help prevent you from having to search the entire house, trying to find reasonably fresh batteries for the dying flashlight.