How to save yourself: survival kit made easy

MariannaLet’s face it: emergencies can hit on any day. The unknown risks of emergency or crises cause uneasiness and worry. But have no fear. You can be your biggest savior.

The idea is not to walk around in fear, but to be aware of safety precautions — and be responsible enough to create crisis prevention plans.

Start by creating a survival kit. Invite your friends and family. There are several kinds of survival kits, but keep it simple, affordable and realistic.

Essentially, a survival kit should have basic first aid, tools and resources you may need in case of an emergency. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. You don’t have to buy everything at once. Your survival kit can be an ongoing project that you build towards over a series of months.

Marianne Sousa demonstrates a survival kit.

Marianna Sousa demonstrates a survival kit.

Keep in mind that not everyone’s kit will be the same. Of course, you should have basic needs covered, but each of us have different lifestyles. Make sure your bag has necessary personal or specialty items.

Remember, when an emergency happens, there is no running to Walmart or the to Dollar store.

Each person in your family should have a survival kit, fully stocked and changed out seasonally to assure that items have not expired. If you have young children, be sure to personalize their bags with items that can calm them or keep them busy during hectic situations. A favorite book, teddy bear or treat can be helpful when meeting to calm the nerves of a child during crisis.

Family members who need medication should have extra medication stored and monitored for expiration. Keep a list of medications, emergency contact numbers and copies of ID in a plastic bag. 

The following outline is for a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • First aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
  • Local maps.
  • Prescription medications and glasses.
  • Infant formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container.

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.
  • Paper and pencil

  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – when diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. (Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.)

A great way to help others start to create survival kits and emergency supply kits is to gift them for the holidays. It’s an excellent way to show your loved ones how much you care.

Now stay safe, and get to packing.


  1. says

    Great resource. I found several items you listed that I had forgotten to include in my kit. I will be adding them this weekend. Very appreciative!


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