For years we have been encouraged by the government and disaster response organizations to take another step forward in preparing ourselves and our families to survive an emergency or disaster. We have been encouraged to have a survival kit on hand to provide basic survival supplies to last for at least 72 hours (3 days) on our own in case of an emergency or disaster.
The media coverage following Hurricane Katrina brought home the reality that federal, state, and municipal authorities will not be able to immediately help everyone in case of a major disaster. Just as there is a need to have smoke detectors because we can’t each have a firefighter on duty 24/7 in our own home, we each need to prepare to be able to provide for our own basic survival needs in an emergency or disaster.
The recommendation to prepare for at least 3 days comes from the that experience that it will take at least that long (and maybe longer) for authorities to provide assistance to most of the people who may be affected by any given large disaster.
A well stocked survival kit should meet your basic survival needs for up to three days (72 hours) and should include survival supplies that provide for the 10 BASIC SURVIVAL NEEDS:
Click on each of these links to see checklists from the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross on what should be included in each in each 72 hour survival kit. These are the two lists we use to guide our development of LifeSecure survival kits and survival supplies.
Whether you buy a survival kit ready-assembled by an emergency preparedness company or build your own, beyond the 10 survival supply basics, you will also need to add several personal items to increase your comfort and survival preparedness. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross lists address suggestions for added personal items to your survival supplies.
Though it is helpful to have several items that can be used in your home if you need to shelter-in-place, it is critical to have a compact, light-weight grab-and-go survival kit in case you need to evacuate. Consider how much you can realistically carry should you end up on-foot. We find that many people prefer to have a rolling bag kit in case they need to travel on-foot for some distance. Some of these bags convert to backpacks or have a shoulder strap should they have to be carried over debris or rough ground.
One other important consideration when preparing a survival kit is the shelf-life of the survival supplies. Most people don’t care to be constantly inspecting and updating their survival kits nor paying to replace outdated survival supplies. If you value the ability to “buy it once, pack it once, and forget it”, make sure that you select food, water, light and communication options that will last for 4 to 5 years or more. Most commercially assembled kits provide long-shelf life options for these survival supplies. Because of their long-life, survival kits purchased from reputable emergency preparedness companies such as LifeSecure Emergency Solutions, can help to prepare a family for in the range of only $7.00 to $14.00 per person per year. That’s not a lot of money to spend to secure one’s family in case of a disaster.