Why Do We Need An Emergency Kit?

On a regular basis, I'm asked to explain why people need an emergency kit. What is the point of having all this stuff if nothing ever happens? I liken emergency kits to insurance. Car insurance is one of the very few things we spend a lot of money on and pray we never have to use.

Why Do We Need An Emergency Kit?

Emergency kits are the same way. We spend time and money building these kits, yet hope we never end up in a position where we'll need them.

Often, people think of emergency kits as only being needed in a major disaster, such as a nuclear war. The fact is, there are any number of things that could happen in our daily lives that could cause us to need an emergency kit. The most likely events will be weather related. A couple years ago, there was a major blizzard that hit southeastern Wisconsin.

Near record snow falls accompanied by low temperatures and high winds. Wisconsinites are used to that sort of weather in the winter. Yet hundreds of cars ended up stranded on one of the interstate highways for several hours. They couldn't move forward nor could they go back where they came. They were just stuck. About the only thing emergency crews were able to do was check on the occupants in those cars by cruising back and forth on snowmobiles, providing emergency fuel when cars began to run low from running their heaters. It wasn't until the following morning that the roads were cleared enough to get people moving again.

While there were no deaths reported during the incident, if these people had had the foresight to put together just basic emergency kits for their cars, the situation would have been much easier to endure.

Even at home, weather can cause situations requiring the need for an emergency kit. Ice storms and blizzards can wreak havoc with utilities, especially electricity. You could be stuck at home for days, even weeks in some cases, without power. Your emergency kit should have the supplies necessary to feed your family during such a crisis, as well as stay warm and reasonably comfortable.

Another possibility would be if you were stranded at work due to weather. Let's say a bad storm rolls in while you're hard at work and come quitting time, you find out you're going to be stuck there for a while. Having an emergency kit in your car, or better yet at your work station, could provide you with food, water, and other items to make that extended stay a bit easier to stomach. Sure, many employers provide vending machines for their employees but do you really want to go toe-to-toe with Big Joe from the warehouse over the last danish that is sitting in the Wheel of Death?

No matter where you live, there are always natural disasters and weather related emergencies looming over the future horizon. These emergency kits need not be huge, elaborate collections of supplies designed to help you survive unaided for weeks on end.  Instead, the idea here is to just have a bit of food, water, and other items to get you by until you're able to get back to normal life activities.


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