If the unexpected hits home, will you be ready? Hurricanes, floods, forest fires, storms and man-made disasters can cut you off from help for days or weeks at a time. We spoke with Jim Cobb, a consultant who specializes in disaster readiness, to find the 10 most important items you need to stock at home in case disaster hits.
#1 — Water: Clean water is essential to sustaining life. Storing water, whether as purchased cases of bottles or in containers you fill yourself at home, is critical. Just as important is some means of filtering and purifying water. Brownells Recommends: WaterBrick Containers as well as the Steripen Classic for water purification.
#2 — Food: Every family should have food on hand to last one week, preferably longer. These foods should consist of things that can be eaten with little or no preparation, such as canned goods, rice, beans, granola bars, and nuts. Store it in a cool dry place, preferably in water-tight containers. Brownells Recommends: An off-the-shelf option is the Wise Foods “56 Entree” Food Kit.
#3 — Shelter: In most scenarios, you will have access to a house or other building. Therefore, we concentrate more on having sufficient blankets and extra clothing, though owning a tent or two, just in case, is prudent. Brownells Recommends: The Bunker Tent is a solid long-term shelter, and the Adventure Medical Kits bivy can provide immediate warmth in an emergency.
#4 — First Aid: In a disaster, immediate access to medical care will be limited. Store a kit to include bandages, gauze, pain relievers, stomach medications, and more. Also include a first aid manual. (On top of these supplies, proper training in first aid is important.) Brownells Recommends: The Echosigma Emergency Systems Trauma Kit.
#5 — Communication: Gathering information and sharing it can be crucial in a disaster. A small crank radio that can receive AM/FM/SW as well as NOAA weather broadcasts will be of great benefit. Brownells Recommends: The Midland Radio.
#6 — Knife: A knife is probably the single most important survival tool. An ideal survival knife has a fixed blade with a full tang, blade length of 4 – 5 inches, and quality steel. Spend the few extra bucks to get something of quality. Brownells Recommends: The Ontario Knife Company Rat-3 1095.
#7 — Self-Defense: All of the supplies in the world will do you little good if someone is able to take them away from you. You may consider investing in a firearm and seek out training in how to use it properly. Brownells Recommends: The unique Essentials Civil Unrest Kit includes “tools to help keep you safe in case rioting and looting break out,” the company cites.
#8 — Fire-Making: Disasters may result in having to rely upon fire to cook our food and keep us warm, not to mention boil water to render it potable. Your kit should contain lighters, matches, maybe even a couple ferrocerium rods. Brownells Recommends: The TurboFlame Lighter and the UST BlastMatch.
#9 — Hygiene: Hygiene is important for good health as well as morale. A couple of boxes of baby wipes are better than nothing. Keep hand sanitizer in a kit, too. Brownells Recommends: Pick up an Essentials Hygiene Kit.
#10 — Entertainment: It sounds like more of a luxury. But books, board games, cards, and other forms of simple entertainment will provide a needed diversion. Hit a few rummage sales or thrift stores and stock up.