The very nature of an emergency situation is one that we didn’t see coming. Of course, if you knew you would be in an emergency situation in advance, you could avoid it. This is why it’s important to always be prepared with the emergency essentials to get you through a crisis.
When we look at what is essential to everyone’s life, we can usually break it down into five categories:
There are some additional points, like air. However, that’s not something we can just pick up at the local Walmart. So these are the five that we’re going to look at as emergency essentials.
There are plenty of ways to collect and store water. At home, you want to make sure you’re storing a gallon per day, per person. This will cover cooking and drinking needs with a little left over for some basic hygiene. Be cautious how you use this water as it will go faster than you think. You can store water in dedicated water bottles or soda bottles. Don’t be afraid to put a few in your freezer if you have extra space. This will lower your energy costs while keeping your freezer cold longer if the power goes out. It’ll also nice to have some ice-cold water if the cause of your disaster is a power outage in the summer.
But you’re not always at home and disasters can strike anywhere. Make sure to add some water to your vehicles as well. A gallon or two here will go a long way. It’s safe to assume that you’re not going to hunker down in your vehicle for a long period of time. So plan enough that it would get you to where you are going if your car broke down and you had to walk home. Even if you do end up hunkering down in your vehicle to wait out a blizzard, this should be enough to keep you sufficiently hydrated.
Food can be a bit of a tricky situation. The fact that you can live without it for a while gives people an excuse to overlook it. However, you do need to be well fed to function properly. And functioning properly is especially important in any sort of disaster situation.
A while back, Jason Hanson shared his thoughts on building out a $5/week food storage plan. It’s a good approach if trying to plan on a budget. Of course, if you aren’t on a tight budget, go ahead and get a week or two supply of food. Keep a log of what you eat throughout the week and purchase an extra supply of that. Just replace any fresh foods you use with canned versions. I promise you, canned meat is fantastic when you’re hungry!
As for the vehicle, you still only need to prepare for a day or two. But it becomes more difficult since you won’t have the optimal storage space. Your car is less protected from extreme heat and cold than where you’ll likely be storing your food at home. Consider adding some jerky, nuts or seeds, and some vegetable chips. Again, you’re not likely to face such a long-term situation that you need to focus on specific nutrients. You just need enough food to provide you the energy to think and work.
There are many forms of energy that we use in our daily lives. However, there are really only two things that energy provides that are absolutely essential to survival. Those are cooking and climate control.
Cooking is a fairly simple one to remedy. You can pick up a relatively cheap emergency stove that will handle your cooking needs. When it comes to your vehicle, it’s really best to store foods that don’t need cooking.
Climate control is a bit harder to deal with. Your car should have a built in climate control system, i.e. the heater and air conditioner. However, it never hurts to have a couple of blankets available in case you are stuck in your car. Your home may be hard to heat, but a kerosene heater should keep one room pretty comfortable. If heat is the problem, then you may need to settle for a battery operated fan unless you have the budget for a backup power system.
In most cases, we will have a building or vehicle to shelter in, and those make great options. However, there have been times when people truly needed to find their own shelter in emergency situations. When it comes to shelter, nothing can really replace the knowledge of how to build an emergency shelter. That being said, a good tarp and some 550-cord/paracord will go a long way towards saving time and energy.
Nothing can put an end to your survival faster than a lack of security. Security can also be covered in a lot of ways. We write a lot about guns, knives, and weird looking spy tools on this site. But when it comes to emergency essentials, you could do a lot worse than a takedown rifle. Of course, I recommend that you have a designated home defense weapon. But a collapsible rifle is a great option when you’re on the go.
Additional Emergency Essentials
While the list above does cover the needs that everyone has, there may be some personal needs to consider.
If you take medications, consider storing some in the vehicle, in your bug-out bag, or even in a purse or wallet. Even in a non-emergency situation you can end up someplace unexpected and need your medications. Likewise, a good first-aid kit and the knowledge to use it can be critical to survival.
Cash is another thing you may want to have on-hand. Not every emergency is an end-of-days scenario. A few bucks in your pocket may get you a hotel room or other supplies if the electricity goes out and credit card systems aren’t working.
And don’t forget to have a good book on hand. Paranoia and frustration can set in rather quickly if you feel trapped somewhere. Having something to take your mind off of the problem, once your immediate needs are met, can help you keep a little sanity.