Start Your Your Emergency Kit

The Four SIX Items You Really Need to start your kit

What’s the plan for everyone to get out of your house, where will you all meet once you’re safely out, and how can you contact each other if you’re not at home when disaster strikes?

— Sure, we all intend to have our emergency kits packed and ready to go, but how many of us really get around to making it happen?

Let’s change that.

That may not be possible in all cases, but many survival items are inexpensive and sometimes “extras” are already lying around our homes, so you might start by shopping your junk drawers and garage.

For instance, paper, pencils, a hefty roll of duct tape and some strong cord are on almost everyone’s emergency kit list, along with a well-stocked first-aid kit, which you can build yourself or purchase already built online. We like the American Red Cross’ family first aid kit for $35, which includes an emergency first-aid guide. It is recommended using basic backpacks for emergency kits because they’re easy to grab and go. “They don’t have to be anything special, Just simple ones like you use for school.”

Start now, check a few things off your list each week — enough food and water per person for three days, a grab-and-go supply of necessities such as daily medications and pet food, a stack of cash in small denominations, an envelope containing important paperwork you don’t want to leave behind — and soon you’ll be ready for an emergency that we all hope never happens.

And if you need any more inspiration to get going, Watch  Unprepared: An Oregon Field Guide Special and listen to KPCC’s(Los Angles) gripping podcast, “The Big One: Your Survival Guide.”

Here are the top picks for must-have items for an emergency kit:

First I believe a pocket knife and a source or two to make a fire is always with you.

Nothing fancy, I carry a 3.5″ CRKT and a BIC lighter.

Let there be light

When disaster strikes, our power sources are one of the first things to go, and they can often stay gone for weeks at a time. It is recommended a pack of glow sticks and simple flashlights, which are easy to carry and store. Be sure to include a supply of batteries for the flashlight! Or better still, include flashlights that are built into solar-powered radios.

Just whistle

In earthquake country, it’s vital to make yourself heard, even under rubble. “You can grow hoarse from shouting in a matter of minutes, Whistles are cheap noisemakers, small and easy to carry and you can find them at most hardware stores.

AM-FM radios

Once the power goes out, radio waves may be your only connection with the outside world. Any battery-powered AM-FM radio is crucial during an emergency, but many models now include solar panels and hand cranks to power their rechargeable batteries. we doesn’t have specific recommendations, but one of Amazon’s top sellers is RunningSnail’s Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Solar Weather Radio with LED Flashlight, which also includes a power bank for cellphones. About $20.

Power packs

Cellphones and pads are great survival tools, because you can download all kinds of useful information and use it for reference in times of need. But those devices are useless once they run out of power. Power packs can provide multiple charges to prolong the life of your devices, until you find a place to recharge. One of Amazon’s top sellers is the Anker PowerCore 20100 for $40, which promises to provide nearly seven charges for an iPhone7 or five for a Galaxy S6. (Remember to keep them charged up so they’re ready when you need them.)

Wrap them in foil

Disasters don’t care if it’s cold outside, but you will. Foil blankets, also known as space blankets, are inexpensive, lightweight and fold up to almost nothing, but they can keep you warm when you’re forced to shelter outside. Better yet, buy a Mylar sleeping bag, such as Delmera Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag for $11 (two for $19), which folds up to the size of a cellphone. The blankets — which cost less than $2 — can be used as ground covers or a shawl.

Ready for more?

For more recommended emergency gear, check out the Clackamas County Oregon’s Emergency Survival Guide