Function of a Survival Kit
Let's consider for a moment the function of these so-called survival kits, aka bug-out bags, aka grab-n-go bags, et al. Poof! A disaster you could not foresee occurs! The survival bags' role in life is to ensure that after a couple of days you do have a life! The survival kits and supplies sold on this site are designed with that specific purpose in mind; to keep you alive for a few days. These kits allow you and your family to survive the disaster, immediately following the disaster until you can make it someplace safe and then have the items you will need to take to a emergency shelter to live on for the couple of days (hopefully only a couple) until authorities can get on-site and setup shop.
Function of a Survival Kit
I don't need a survival kit! I grew up hunting and fishing all my life, I know how to live in the woods!
I don't need a so called emergency bag to take off running with! There's an emergency shelter right around the corner where I can go!
I can't see why having a car kit is such a big deal! If I get stranded on the highway the police or somebody will come along!
I don't need to make up some stupid bag! If something bad happens around here, me and my family are going to drive out-of-state to my in-laws house!
So how about the scenarios wherein a truck or train laden with chemicals overturns in the middle of the night? Oops, the police are shouting on the PA systems for everyone to evacuate the area; immediately! Where are you going? That emergency shelter around the corner is out of business, even if you were counting on it. Do you know where there is another shelter "outside the danger zone"? Too late to take what you might want.
How about when you are driving down the road and poof, there goes another flash flood washing away the bridge or roadway, or tornado or heavy storm that knocks down those trees and power poles across the highway you read about and you can't get turned around and go anyplace? Your stuck out there for the time being. But for how long?
Ever read or seen on TV about those folks driving down the interstate and suddenly are trapped in a freak blizzard? Stuck out on the road for days waiting for help. Sure there's the Highway Patrol but they, along with everyone else, are not going anywhere until the weather breaks; they can't plain and simple.
What if you do make it to a shelter along with all the other folks? You hear the common saying "everything will be fine, the Red Cross will be here in a day or two and be in business". Ok, that's fine and dandy. However, what are you going to eat until they get there and they get organized? You are likely to going to be sleeping on the gym floor of the local school or if lucky the floor of a church someplace. What? No blankets? Electricity is out, so what light do you use? But what if you are one of the later comers and find the place packed full of people and others trying to make do on the grass or nearby parking lot? What are you going to do for you and your family standing out there in the rain or snow while shivering?
In a more serious disaster, things are going to be compounded ten fold or even greater. Very likely there will be no power, no telephone lines working, cell phones useless due to overloaded demand. Main roadways can be blocked. Gas stations and food markets will only accept cash because their credit card machines are down and you can not buy that gas to get out of town you counted on or even buy groceries.
You are going to have to find water and hopefully know how to make it potable (drinkable). Sure everyone has heard of boiling water, but what are you going to boil it in? What are you going to use to start a fire? What if there is nothing available to build a fire with?
I could ramble on and on and on why people, all people, need to have some sort of bag they can pickup; pickup and "takeoff running for the hills" or nearest disaster shelter; a survival kit which contains basic items to get you and your family through a crisis for a time. I recently read on the news of a man whose home was struck with "once in a hundred years flash flood" with no warning. The water inside the house rose 10 feet in less than five minutes! When asked, he said he grabbed a few things and he and his family barely made it out of the house. I wondered to myself if it was an emergency kit he grabbed.
So how does one of these survival kit things work anyway? The bags described are well thought-out to include the basic items, and I mean the very basic things, that you & your family can use during and immediately after an emergency which will sustain you until the cavalry (Red Cross or FEMA or whoever) shows up. It is intended to provide you a minimum of shelter, food, water and fire during a crisis. Other things are suggested to be included to increase your odds at surviving the ordeal and immediately afterwards and perhaps more livable during your stay in a shelter for a few days; such items as a first-aid kit, flashlight, bedding, radio to hear what's going on &/or what the authorities are saying to do now, etc.
What about those car kits everyone mentions? Basically it is another "bug-out bag" or whatever term you like to call it. It contains all the same basic items and a few others such as blankets. With the contents and some basic common sense, it is hoped you can make it for a couple of days either living stranded in the boon-docks or after making it to a shelter with the basics, to live until the organizations are prepared to deal with the survivors. The car kit concept is built on the assumption that you may not be able to get home to get that bag of yours; but, with a second bag in the trunk you are always prepared. Think for a second; the car is always close to hand either at home, work, shopping, or traveling down the highway. The home may not be so handy or even accessible, but your car probably is.
There are hundreds of lists of "what to put in a survival kit" on the internet; contained in governmental, commercial and private lists. So I do not intend to make "a list of suggested items to include in your kit". Instead I suggest you start by looking over one of the various prepackaged survival kits sold on this site. They have already done the research for you and assembled the required items for your basic kit.
-Jerry B Blaine