Building Your Emergency Kit For The 21st Century

How many modern essentials does your kit have?

In the last 10 years, every state in the union has experienced at least one major disaster as declared by the federal government. A well-stocked emergency kit can be a real lifesaver in a variety of situations, including: riots and civil unrest, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. When building your emergency kit, consider both the basics and newer, modern essentials.

Emergency Basics

Basic items should meet you and your family’s needs for up to 72 hours, and should be kept together in a large backpack or duffel.

  1. Non-perishable food such as HeaterMeals

  2. Water: 1 gallon per person, per day

  3. Medications (prescription & over-the-counter)

  4. First aid supplies

  5. Blankets or sleeping bags

  6. Warm clothes and sturdy shoes* or boots*

  7. Candles & matches, or even better, lanterns, flashlights, and extra batteries

  8. Battery or crank-powered NOAA weather radio

  9. A whistle* or air horn*, for signaling your location if you become trapped

  10. Personal identification*, important papers, and cash

* Indicates an often overlooked item! Don’t forget these!

Modern Essentials

In addition to the basics, there are some high-tech items that can make your kit even more effective in the event of a disaster. How many do you have in your kit?

  1. A modern smartphone can function as many different survival tools: communication device, flashlight, or even a map & compass. The Red Cross has a full suite of mobile apps for a wide variety of emergency situations. 

  2. A Signal booster can improve the range and reception of your cell phone if local towers go down.

  3. Portable lithium-ion batteries can fully recharge up to three smartphones. Look for models that are rated at 10,000 mAh (milliamp-hours) or higher.

  4. A portable solar panel can recharge a phone or other electronic device when all your batteries have died.

  5. An LED headlamp can provide hours of bright light with a single set of batteries. It also keeps your hands free for performing important tasks.

  6. Microbial filter straws can filter up to 30 gallons of water each. They are small, lightweight, and easier to use than other water treatment options.

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