How to Build an Emergency Kit?

Jake Buckland Do-It-Yourself Mitigation preparedness

How to Build an Emergency Kit?


Disasters and emergencies cause tremendous amounts stress, pain, and hardship.  Building an emergency kit gives your family an opportunity to become more resilient. It also gives you the tools to help those in need and allows you to transition faster back to a normal life.  Nowadays, building an emergency kit is no longer a choice, it's a responsibility.

Step 1 - Conduct a risk assessment before building your emergency kit

The first step to building an emergency kit is conducting a hazard risk assessment. You need to understand your local hazards if you're going to protect yourself adequately. Based on that risk assessment you can custom tailor your emergency kit to best suit your needs. For example, you can build a car emergency kit, earthquake kit or an emergency food kit.

Step 2 - Determine your Local Hazards

Use the below list as a reference to identify your local hazards. Please keep in mind your particular destination, season, weather and activity (I.e., outdoor adventure or road trip, etc.).

  • Active Shooter
  • Cyber Security
  • Dead Car Battery
  • Drought
  • Earthquake
  • Explosions
  • Extreme Heat
  • Flooding
  • Home Fire
  • Hurricane
  • Landslides
  • Pandemic
  • Power Outage
  • Food Contamination
  • Water Contamination
  • Severe Weather
  • Snowstorm
  • Terrorism
  • Thunderstorms & Lightening
  • Tornados
  • Tsunamis
  • Violent Crime
  • Volcanoes
  • Wildfire

Step 3 - What is the likelihood that this will occur?

1 - Minimal 
2 - Low 
3 - Moderate 
4 - High

Step 4 - How likely is this to affect you? (Injury, Damage, Financial, interruption)

1 - Minimal 
2 - Low 
3 - Moderate 
4 - High

Step 5 - Cross-reference and plot your answers from step 3 & 4.

If you have a moderate chance of facing a hurricane and a high probability that it will affect you, then you're between a 3 and 4. If however you have a minimal likelihood and a low chance that it will affect you, then you're between 1 and 2. Prepare an emergency kit for those hazards that have a moderate to high chance of affecting your family.

Emergency Kit Contents

Select a carrying case to store items inside your emergency kit. You can choose any emergency bag or survival backpack. Ensure its large enough to hold objects of various sizes, easy to carry and durable, and if possible, waterproof. Below is a list of things that are important to have in any emergency kit.

Candle: Once you light a candle you can use the liquid wax on the tinder to help get a fire going.

Documents: insurance, contact numbers and addresses, passport, etc.

Fire Starting Devices & Tinder: You can use anything from flint, matches or a butane lighter. For fuel you can use fire pellets or wood shaving.

First Aid Kit: Supplement your standard first-aid kit with anti-diarrheal tablets and painkillers, antihistamines, antiseptic ointment, butterfly sutures, prescription medicine and surgical blades.

Flashlight: Used for locating things at night and signaling rescuers.

Freeze Dried Food: Ensure you have some extra freeze-dried food, they're lightweight and will give you the physical and psychological boost when you need it the most.

Storage Cups: Could be used to boil a liquid or used for drinking.

Rope: You can use it to make a shelter, signal, snare or trap as well as countless other purposes.

Sewing Kit: To mend material that becomes torn or used in first aid to remove splinters and slivers. Safety pins can be sued to make repairs to clothes or utilized as fish hooks.

Signal Mirror: In addition to signaling passing rescuers, the mirror can be used for grooming and first-aid.

Space Blanket or Emergency Sleeping Bag: These solar blankets and sleeping bags reflect your body heat back to you and are effective at warming you up in a hurry. It's very lightweight and compact.

Water Purification Tablets: Each water purification tablets should purify 1 quart of water (1 liter). Iodine-based tablets can also be used to disinfect wounds. Merely crush one and add a teaspoon of water.

Human Waste Bags: Use it to make a raincoat or signal a plane or catching rain in case you need water for drinking. It can also be used as waterproofing a shelter.

Outdoor Whistle:To signal rescuers for help.

Plastic Zip bags: Can be used to store and carry water, used to waterproof your emergency kit and sensitive documents/material or used to melt snow for water. Can be used to wrap around plants to capture water through condensation.

Remember to have fun building your emergency kit and base it on the risk assessment conducted for your geographical area. You can also purchase an emergency kit and customize it by adding your personal belongings.



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