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Curating A Basic And Effective Emergency Survival Kit

There’s a certain saying that goes, “Better to have and not need, than to need and not have”.  The only thing that might be worse than a natural disaster striking at the heart of a metropolis is people like us being far from ready for its aftermath. Rather than possibly trudging along in a catastrophe left behind with “If only…” statements, you can instead be better prepared in advance. 




Water and a drinking mug or tumbler

Mahatma Gandhi was able to stay alive despite not being able to eat for 21 days, but if another human  goes nearly a week without water—especially in hotter climates—death will be knocking on your door quicker.  Water is usually number one on the list of survival needs. When exposed to outdoor elements like sunlight, heat, and wind people dehydrate even quicker, but in general in average climate temperatures they can last roughly about 100 hours without drinking.  Three gallons of water at least per person should be sufficient for three days.


Photo by Miroslav Skopek from Unsplash


Food and bowl

Don’t be too picky about preservatives when it comes to your survival kit (unless you have a health condition that inhibits you).  It is advisable have at the very minimum non-perishable food rations that will last for 3 days.  Things like biscuits, cookies, granola bars, boxed cereals, canned food, instant porridges or oatmeal, preserved or dried fruit, and pickled items are forgivable during a period of disaster.  You need food that doesn’t spoil easily and won’t make you sick by suddenly expiring or going bad.


Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash 


Flashlights and extra batteries

Having everything else in your survival kit is pointless if you can’t see a thing.  So have multiple flashlights in your kit.  Size doesn’t matter as much as power does.  There are lots of tiny torches these days that can strongly light up any area.  A well-known toughie brand known for being weatherproof and durable is Maglite.  They do several models and sizes that you can choose from all the way down to tiny penlight style ones you can hang on your keychain.


Photo from Pixabay 


Spare sturdy mobile phone and chargers on standby (perhaps better if not a high-powered smartphone)

Communication is necessary and the last thing you need is a phone that’s entertaining but a battery guzzler at best.  If you can score one of those mobile devices (there are some that still exist today) that functions reliably without all the bells and whistles (great if it has a radio function and is still charger compatible to powerbanks) and stays powered up longer, that would be way better.


Photo from Pixabay 


Power banks  

You may have to charge them every day on non-crisis days to be prepared for when the exact moment strikes, but who doesn’t need extra power?  Keep these power banks frequently charged plus, you can opt for the high-capacity ones that store way more power than most.  There are certain types like the Vinsic power banks that stores up to 30,000mAh of usable power for phones, laptops, or tablets.


Photo from Pixabay 


Hygienic wipes, germicidal soap, and cleansing waters

Keeping clean may be difficult without running water so make sure to have a bottled micellar cleansing water, alcohol-free toner, and sanitary wipes for cleansing. And don't forget to store or dispose what you use in a garbage bag. In case it rains and you have access to water, anti-bacterial soap will be a blessing.



First Aid Kit

According to the National Health Service in the UK, a very basic medical aid kit ought to contain the following items:

  • bandages in multiple sizes
  • gauze patches (small, medium, and large)
  • 2 sterile eye bandages, triangle bandages
  • rolled bandages
  • safety pins
  • sterile gloves
  • medical scissors
  • tweezers
  • cleansing wipes
  • surgical tape
  • thermometer
  • rash/itch relief cream (hydrocortisone/calendula)
  • analgesics for pain relief like paracetamol (infant paracetamol for babies)
  • aspirin (for teens and adults over 16 years of age)
  • ibuprofen, cough medicine, antihistamine/allergy medicine
  • sterile water for wound cleansing,
  • eye wash/eye bath. 


Proper maintenance of an on-hand first-aid kit would include checking of the expiration dates of all medication, topical ointments, and solutions included every quarter or so.  It is also ideal to have triple antibiotic ointment, germicidal soap, and betadine for proper disinfecting of wounds before dressing.  For administering of pain relievers it is always good to ask first if the person in need is allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen, because some people are and they can only take paracetamol for pain relief.


Photo from Pexels


Wrenches, wirecutters, and pliers

While you won’t need an entire toolbox at your disposal it is highly advised that wrenches and pliers be kept on standby in a kit.  They will end up being useful in case there is a sudden need to switch off stiff utilities in a building, home, or facility or even in circumstances where you may find the need to hotwire a car’s ignition or cut through barbed-wire.


Photo from Pixabay 


Boots or galoshes

During a time of possible flooding and grime, having pairs of waterproof wellies or galoshes on will protect you from filthy sewage and canal water which can cause disease.  Make sure each family member or person in the group has a pair ready especially in countries like ours where floods happen frequently.


Photo from Pexels


Physical maps and compass

There may be a time during a natural disaster where you, your family, and perhaps a group might find the need to relocate to safety.  It is safe to assume that during a time of possible communications fallout you may not be able to use your usually handy GPS devices.  Having maps and a compass in a survival kit may prove useful in a situation where as a group you may need to keep moving from place to place to reach a certain haven.


Photo from Pixabay


Garbage bags

While these may serve as waste disposal units, they also make pretty good makeshift raincoats and can shield you from the elements. Wrapping injured limbs also from moisture or bad weather with garbage bags may prove protective.



A swiss knife

You never know when a utility knife might come in handy, whether it’s for foraging, prepping wood and kindle for a fire, or suddenly needing a sharp tool in a sticky situation.

Photo from Pixabay 


Can opener

Having this is self-explanatory, canned goods in your survival kit will stay canned otherwise. 


Photo from @testkitchen on Instagram


Emergency whistle

When you haven’t been eating or sleeping properly for days and exposed to the elements or even just plain injured, calling for help might be exhausting if you resort to shouting. Having a whistle makes the goal of being found so much easier. 


Photo from @theangelaroberts on Instagram


Grab Bags or Backpacks For Survival Supplies Storage

To store everything, there are many kinds of “grab packs”, “bug out” bags or emergency bags to choose from.  Basically you need a pack that’s durable, comfortable to carry for long hours, ideally weatherproof, and made of material that isn’t too heavy on its own, since most of the equipment will certainly weigh in already. 



It might cost a considerable amount to gather all the equipment or resources for this kit from scratch, but, consider yourself insured this way by being a prepared.  If you’ve lived in the Philippines for years, you’ve survived several storms or typhoons and probably already own half of what’s on the list—battery replacement or repair, however, may be overdue.


Cover photo by Brando Morgan from Unsplash

Thumbnail photos from Pixabay and Instagram