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Essential Emergency Supplies to Survive Any Disaster

Critical Emergency Supplies to Survive a Disaster
Critical Emergency Supplies that Can Save Your Life.

Be Prepared to Survive. What are the best emergency supplies to have on hand? How to be prepared to survive a major disaster with the right emergency supplies.

by James Roberts and , Copyright ©
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Major Disasters are Becoming the Norm

Even small disasters can destroy the local power stations and put your community in a blackout lasting several days or weeks, cut off the local water supply to your community, cause food shortages (if stores have been damaged or looted). Another consequence of even just small disasters can be riots and medical emergencies.

Nightmare consequences follow catastrophic disasters

Catastrophic disasters can make it dramatically worse.

Survival and safety starts with good preparation

Protect your family now before the next disaster strikes. Nowadays, the chance of needing emergency supplies to survive an emergency is on a fast increase around the world.

Civil unrest can also follow in a disaster's footsteps... Today, millions of refugees around the world have been displaced by war and are flooding into Europe and being welcomed into other nations (creating a second danger in many ways due to the fact that terrorist supporters are reportedly fleeing alongside refugees). If that's not bad enough, all signs seem to be pointing to a major catastrophe striking at some point in the months or years ahead, possibly at the hands of a terrorist group with a nuclear weapon or even an electro-magnetic pulse attack (EMP) that knocks out the power grid for good.

How Prepared are You for an Emergency? Do You Have the Right Supplies on Hand?

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Do you have a lot more than "three days of food and water" stored up? A lot of people have a few days of extra food -- but very little water supplies. That's a major disaster waiting to happen right there. In a moment we detail several ways to store up water as well as additional ways to produce clean drinking water should you be forced to evacuate. With that said, the first item from this list of emergency supplies is:

1. Get Home Bag

This is where a good get home bag can come in handy, except in an evacuation your goal may not be to get home -- it might be to get away. With that said, let's move on to the rest of the list:

Emergency Supplies for Your Home

Surviving an extended disaster calls for several critical supplies

Well, there are unfortunately a ton of different emergencies that could happen, as was noted earlier. Each emergency or disaster may call for specific items and tools. But one thing that all emergencies will call for is this: Keep a clear head and don't panic. Don't get knocked out by despair and even terror.

Instead, it's time to adapt; it's time to keep your cool and think about tactics. If you're a Bible-believer, it's time to pray. From either point, now it's time to go into action.

Here are a number of emergency supplies that can greatly assist survival following a disaster.

2. Water storage containers

Start stocking up on water for an extended emergency by investing in water storage containers (large tanks and or barrels and smaller portable "jugs" with a carrying handle for portability).

As you get started with water storage, once you get a significant amount of water stored buy an additional tank or jug periodically, such as these portable jugs for transporting water. You would be wise to have several of these on hand. The reason for buying several portable jugs is that it will make it easier to carry several jugs of water with you should you have to evacuate by car or truck because of a disaster or impending disaster.

3. Water preservation concentrate

Extend the shelf life of stored water to five years

To adequately prepare, it's an essential step to keep supplies of water (and emergency food) slowing growing throughout the year, and then also treating any water you store with water preserver concentrate so that you can extend the shelf life of your stored water to five years. You can also add the water preserver to any supplies of commercially bottled water you've purchased. Without the preserver, the shelf life of water is about six months. In the end, water preserver concentrate is a very important item to have on hand.

Is your tap water ok to drink?

Today, if you live in an area with fairly good tap water, instead of spending money on bottled water just use water straight from your faucet.

4. 50 - 500 Gallon Tank(s)

If you believe that evacuation is a rare event for your region, and you don't expect to evacuate in the first few weeks of a disaster, consider a much larger water storage tank in the 50 - 500 gallon range. Smart Tank holds 50 gallons of water and is just one of many containers on the market used by people for storing up emergency drinking water. As the months pass you can purchase additional units and stack them.

If you have property, and it's feasible, there are companies that sell even larger tanks, for example 500 gallon water storage tanks.

Let's face it: If our water supplies are ever destroyed or unsafe to drink, all tap water will be off limits and the only water you have would be the water you stored before hand.

5. Tarp, Rope, and Barrels for Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is an additional way to produce drinking water.

To accomplish this, stock up on items that you can use to assemble a cheap, at-home rainwater harvesting system (this will enable you to harvest water from rain that falls on your home or property) that you can then store in 55 gallon water storage drums (plastic drums rated for storing drinking water).

If your stored water goes bad or is questionable

Any water that you store will eventually "go bad", especially if you run out of that water preserver concentrate discussed earlier. Stored water does have a shelf life of about six months (if you haven't treated it to last up to five years).

6. Bleach

A small amount of bleach (for example 16 drops per gallon of water) can be added to water that's been sitting for several months to make it safe to drink again (boiling water is the best method though).

Now, what if your water supply has become contaminated from flood waters or broken pipes? The American Red Cross advises the following:

"Filter contaminated water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.

Bring water to a rolling boil for about one full minute.

Let it cool at least 30 minutes. Water must be cool or the chlorine treatment described below will be useless.

Add 16 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water, or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.

Let stand 30 minutes.

If it smells of chlorine: You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water (or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water), let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water."

7. Water Purification Tablets

1. Water Purification Tablets - A quick way to treat water is by using water purification tablets. Water purification tablets are so useful they are even included in Navy Seal survival kits.

Have a large supply of these tablets on hand so that you can purify water when you have to travel away from your home for any number of reasons. If the local water supply is down, and there's no bottled water being sold in stores, you will have to carry your water with you.

8. Personal water filter

It is key that you have multiple methods of procuring safe drinking water; to be prepared, don't just carry tablets. A LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, which was named a Time Magazine Invention of the Year winner, is capable of purifying up to 1,000 liters of water. Consider one for every member of your family and also have a few backups if this disaster could end up knocking out the water supply for several months or more.

9. Emergency Water Supply "Pouches" for Your Vehicle

Emergency Drinking Water with 5 Year Life Span - Not only should you carry an emergency water filter and water purification tablets, but you should also carry 3 days (or more) worth of water in your vehicle. What if you're several miles from home when disaster strikes, during the middle of a work week?

Tip: In a major city or near an area of widespread agriculture or industry, avoid drinking water from nearby lakes, ponds, and streams using a water filter or tablets due to the possible contamination of sewage or industrial chemicals that can spill into underground water systems. Even the best water filters should not be trusted when it comes to sewage or industrial chemicals (do not attempt to purify water from these locations).

10. Food Preservation Containers (Long Term Food Storage)

Just as important to the process of having emergency food on hand is to have appropriate emergency storage containers for it. Thus, here are some things you should have.

#10 cans - Unless you're in the habit of canning food for long term storage, you'll use your own #10 cans to can your own food, following a widespread disaster, when the electricity is out for possibly several weeks (as in a severe ice storm that paralyzes a region), or several months or even years (should a much feared EMP or solar flare ever take place; refer to other articles on our site for instruction on these events). So keep a number of #10 cans on hand and hope that they never get used. (A #10 can is 5.3 times larger than a traditional can of soup, holding a total of about 109 ounces.)

Oxygen absorption packets - These are used to reduce moisture in food items, thus keeping the food viable for much longer (check the directions and utilize the experts when it comes to using these).

Foil pouches - These are made of multi layer laminated plastic and aluminum.

(Nowadays, oxygen absorption packets and foil pouches can be purchased together when ordering food storage supplies.)

PETE bottles - These bottles, made of polyethylene terephthalate, are used for long term storage.

11. Clean Plastic Tubs or Garbage Cans

An unused plastic garbage can could be used for bathing children or washing laundry.

12. 5 Gallon Buckets

5 gallon buckets could be used for washing dishes or for retrieving water from a nearby stream, lake, or even an access spigot to a community water tank.

13. Chest Freezer

Okay, if the electricity goes out for more than 7 days, this won't help much. But if it's a loss of power only lasting a few days, a chest freezer (newer, energy efficient models) can keep food frozen for the first two days before that food starts thawing, giving you several days of frozen food to choose from as it thaws. Tip: Storing large frozen blocks of ice inside your chest freezer with your food (while safely wrapping your food with waterproof materials) can extend the thaw time of your chest freezer to a few more days.

14. Dried Food, Non-Perishable Food

How much do you need? Here's the short answer: Have enough food on hand for at least a month which will involve stocking up on a number of food items. Particularly, you'll want to look into dry foods because they last the longest, when stored correctly (away from heat and sunlight). Large containers of dried beans, various types of rice, canned or powdered milk, and anything else you can find will be beneficial. The most important thing to consider is that if you're going to survive off non-perishable food for a lengthy period of time that you get adequate nutrition.

Based on the items you've stocked up on, put together a daily diet plan that produces the vitamins and minerals you need in the appropriate amounts to stay healthy. Stocking up on quality multi-vitamins is a good idea also, as many canned foods or processed non-perishable foods may fall short of supplying sufficient nutritional needs. There are additional strategies you can use to choose the right foods for long term food storage such as a variety of easy to prepare meals by Augason Farms or other bulk suppliers.

Other Must-Haves in Any Emergency Supply Kit

From gathering food, to hunting for it, to keeping abreast of an emergency situation, to caring for those you love, here are some other things to have on hand.

Firearms for hunting and possible self defense

15. Rifle

Rifle for light-hunting to more serious hunting, if you're capable.

16. Sidearm and some training

Sidearm for self defense - You may not believe in guns, but in an emergency situation there may be nothing better to have (I'm a Bible believer personally, and know what the Bible says about God protecting from above; sometimes or often that's all we need, though for some readers here, that may not be the case yet).

From hunting to self-defense, a long-range rifle, a pump-action shot gun, and a few handguns if you have women and children to protect, can go along way to keeping your family safe from burglars or thugs, to also living off the land if you have to bug out to the countryside or local mountains; especially if you, a neighbor, or a friend is an experienced hunter. Even if you don't hunt today, in a time of extended disaster, there's a great chance that one of your neighbors does hunt. If you have a rifle, and have at least taken the time to learn how to shoot and hit a target on a range, you have a chance that your neighbor will teach you the ins and outs of hunting both large and small game (following a disaster, get to know your neighbors; there's no telling how many ways you may help one another out).

17. Fishing gear

To be better prepared, you should have multiple methods for procuring food, and that includes good fishing gear that you know how to use. Today, don't just buy any standard fishing pole; buy yourself a pole that can reel in a big fish, like a salmon pole; take some lessons in fishing, and also fly-fishing, depending on your area. Talk to experienced guides (many own bait shops or gear shops, and some are employed by large sporting goods stores, such as Cabelas or Bass Pro Shops) and take plenty of notes, and then take the time today to put those notes to the test. Get an assortment of hooks, and definitely have a large supply of small hooks (hint: small hooks can be used to catch both bigger fish and small fish; big fish will bite a small hook; small fish will never bite a hook that's too big).

18. Fish finder

A fish finder is a small electronic device used by many experienced sportsmen to help find fish below the water line. It converts an electrical impulse into a sound wave which bounces off objects far below the water line, detecting the shape of objects, including the fish, showing you the size of the fish (or school of fish) as well as the depth. In the modern age, a fish finder is a tool that has made fishing by boat, kayak or other floatation device much easier, much more effective. For people just starting out, a fish finder can help ensure you actually fish in the right spots and then set your hooks to the right depth.

Fish are a healthy and long time proven survival food and can feed you and your family in an emergency. It is worth taking the time to find a model (you're looking for a "portable" battery-operated model that can be recharged, giving you 2 - 3 days of use on one charge) that will work best for your needs.

Learn how to build a survival raft

While you're at it, learn and practice building a survival raft and making oars out of natural materials. That is a very useful skill to have in a survival emergency, specifically when you need to fish for food.

19. Fishing bait

If there's fishing in the region of the country that you live, stock various types of bait for the ocean, lake, or river you may end up fishing in. At the same time, keep in mind that there is also plenty of natural bait that can be found in nature; night crawlers for example, and even crayfish (also called crawdads) -- which can both be used as bait or you can simply eat them if you've found some larger ones.

Don't forget the critters in your backyard and nearby woods. Stock up on small mammal bait (seeds, corn, etc.) for things like duck, geese, squirrels, and rabbit that may be common in your area. What is small mammal bait? It may be sold in grocery stores or your nearby hardware store; it is commonly used in backyard feeders for select animals. This is for a "worst case" scenario when your emergency supplies of dried food run low and you now need to turn to hunting and trapping.

20. Crabbing gear

Only if you live near a coastal area or bay where crabbing is an option.

Even if you don't live near the ocean, crawfish (called "crawdads" by some folks and "crayfish" by others) are an easy to catch large fresh water crustacean that is good eating and common in many streams and plentiful in many regions, including the Pacific Northwest and South Eastern states, Continental Divide, and even Arizona (where they were introduced several years back). You'll have to check your region as to whether or not crawfish are common.

21. Crabbing / crawfish trap

Whether you decide to go crabbing or catch crawfish, consider a collapsible crab/crawfish trap. It folds down for easy transport. Bait your trap and throw it in the water and come back later that day to find several crabs or crawfish inside.

Bugging out to avoid conflict

22. Camouflage clothing and hunting blinds

You may need to turn to hunting, if things get dire, and you start running low on food. But don't just have camo (camouflage) clothing on hand for hunting. Realize that if unsavory people come to the area, you and your family may have to flee your home and hide out in a nearby forest. Don't just buy standard camouflage as you may have seen it worn casually over the years. It will be easier to stay hidden as you cross through a forest or wilderness area if you have the appropriate camouflage coloring for the terrain. Consider having two types of camouflage -- dark colors for a forest rich in green colors; light colors for a terrain that is more like a prairie or even the desert. Camouflage face paint is a second item to have; but also know how to make natural colored camouflage "paint" for your face using simply streaks of dark mud and dirt.

23. Knife

Though this is mainly an article about preparing your home and family for an extended disaster, a good knife can still be a useful tool for use around your property. Popular knives, especially by our military men and women, include KA-BAR US Marine Corps knife and SOG SEAL Pup Elite Survival Knife. (If this KA-BAR or SOG SEAL are a bit too military for your tastes go with a good folding knife like this Kershaw as a more civilian option and one you might buy for your teen kids as well.)

24. Emergency Radio

Today's popular portable emergency radios can be powered with or without batteries. This Kaito model includes a hand crank and a built in solar panel (if those batteries run out) allowing you to keep up on news alerts and listen for orders on evacuation and other important details, including whether or not roads or bridges are out somewhere or if the local water supply is safe to drink. During any kind of disaster, it's important to have a source of reliable news; without news of an approaching threat, that threat may take you by surprise and then you're a goner.

25. Extra batteries

Have a supply of extra batteries for both your emergency radio, flashlights, and battery operated lanterns; though the radio above is hand crank, what if that hand crank stops working at some point or the radio is dropped and the built in solar panel is damaged?

Emergency Supplies for Your Home

Some people are very concerned about the prospect of disasters we are facing in the modern day and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time on emergency survival food. Whether or not that's you, you're going to want tools that make cooking and serving food "off grid" as easy as possible. That means turning to plastic bowls and plates (thick plastic bowls and plates intended to be reused).

26. Plastic plates, bowls, utensils

A good emergency kit can have the same kind of items you would take on a weekend camping trip (just a much larger supply of plastic plates, bowls, and garbage bags).

27. Extra bedding and cold weather sleeping bags

If the power is out for any length of time, especially in the winter months, bundle up at night under several layers of warm blankets or invest in cold weather sleeping bags. If you're on a budget, you may find some cheap blankets at a second hand store or thrift shop. Cold weather sleeping bags like this U.S. Military Goretex Modular Sleeping Bag System may be the best step though. These sleeping bags are rated for cold temperatures and can be stored in a stuff sack and carried with you in an evacuation.

Staying warm on a cold night is never truly appreciated until you spend 10 hours shivering in a sleeping bag not rated for the sudden drop in temperature that just took place the night before.

28. Clothing for the weather

Enough on hand to wear in several layers for cold weather, choosing non-cotton materials that you can wear as a base layer for helping to wick away sweat, protecting you from hypothermia.

29. Extra bathroom supplies

Especially for women, when it comes to things like tampons, etc. Beyond this, you may want to know where you will toilet in advance of an extended disaster. In a worst case scenario, let's say this is a nuclear emergency, whether from a nuclear power plant meltdown or even a nuclear detonation somewhere distant. In this case you would want bathroom supplies for your fallout shelter (which can just be a sealed room in your basement).

30. Portable toilet

A portable toilet doesn't cost a lot and can be outfitted with plastic bags and changed regularly, along with other methods to help reduce odors, such as storing up cheap bulk kitty litter to help reduce odors associated with toilet needs.

31. Soap

Not just bar soap, but also dish soap. Several gallons of bleach will also go a long way to keeping your home clean. Water it down and use it sparingly and you may be able to make a few gallons of bleach last several months.

32. First aid supplies

Experts recommend a kit that you hand-stock, rather than buy a cheap one that is pre-stocked. This way you can be sure to have key items as well as extras of items that you're likely to use up if anyone is injured. Larger first aid kits that are heavily stocked are another choice, especially if you don't have time to hand stock your own kit. Compare one kit to another before choosing to ensure you're getting a wide assortment of first aid supplies, including supplies for treating severe injuries, when that is possible.

33. Expedition rated tents and tarp shelters

If your house is flattened, or a roof or wall cave in, you may need to set up temporary shelter in your backyard or a neighbor's yard while you begin repairs on your home. Expedition rated tents are much better constructed than cheaper summer tents and can make a good weather proof shelter for an extended emergency. Tarps (black, brown, etc) can be used to block wind and even conceal your tent, if there's any possible threat from looters in the late night hours.

34. Flashlights, candles, lanterns, solar lights

If there's no electricity, what else will you use for light? Having several 55 hour emergency candles can provide several days worth of lighting, depending on how often you use these candles. 5 or 5 of these candles should get a family through a short term emergency when the power is out for a couple days, giving you a light source in multiple rooms of your home. You will need more emergency candles though for an extended power outage.

Important: If a disaster is bad enough, it could have damaged gas lines that bring natural gas (or propane for some) to your home. If you are on natural gas, do no light a candle unless you are sure that the gas lines haven't been damaged and their isn't any gas leak in or near your home.

If you are on natural gas, in addition to candles, be sure to invest in a handful of battery operated lanterns, as well as extra batteries specific to each lantern. You can have solar and hand crank lanterns as well, but to date the brightest light still comes from battery operated lanterns.

35. Propane stove

A propane stove may be the way to go if electricity dies, especially if you have a fair supply of propane on hand. What about just using your barbecue? Most propane barbecues will burn a lot more fuel than a much smaller propane stove. The propane stove is a better way to go, especially one with just a single burner and built in wind-block (wind can cool your pot or pan while it cooks, making your stove need more fuel). Along with this, you'll want spare propane tanks. Keep them away from your home while waiting, however, as they could be destroyed if your home is damaged in a disaster.

36. Solo Stove (when there's no fuel to burn)

A much cheaper alternative to propane, and for a long term emergency, a Solo Stove is a great tool to have on hand. These small wood burning stoves create a lot of heat just by burning small sticks and brush; so no branch cutting or lumber chopping is required. No matter where you are, you should be able to find sticks and brush nearby; even in a desert environment you'll find sticks and brush to burn.

A Solo Stove is constructed to maximize the heat created, cooking food faster and using a lot less wood than a typical campfire. A Solo Stove will also give off a lot less smoke than a campfire, allowing you to cook your food without attracting attention from somewhere distant. So this is a very handy stove to have in a long term emergency and a popular item with backpackers, kayakers, hunters, fishermen and survivalists.

37. Towels, brushes, brooms, mops

For cleaning and sanitation.

38. 55 Gallon Garbage Bags

Cleaning and sanitation doesn't stop with just those towels, brushes, brooms, and mops. You're going to want a large supply of 55 gallon contractor size "heavy duty" rated garbage bags for disposing of trash and even human waste when necessary.

Be sure to also stock up on several boxes of 3 gallon to 5 gallon garbage bags for disposing of human waste, should your plumbing be damaged or destroyed and toilets unable to flush.

39. Picks / Shovels

As is common in third world countries and remote villages, you'll need shovels and picks to dig latrines and trenches in the ground for the purpose of disposing of human waste. Dig these far away from your living quarters and also downwind so that the wind carries the stench away, rather than in your direction.

Tip: Dump urine (from whatever you're using to urinate in) into a trench that is separate from solid human waste. Rather that simply dump solid waste into a trench however, instead assign a small garbage bag to each person, each day, for the purpose of being used as a "toilet bag" that can be used in place of a toilet. If tied shut after each use, it will help minimize the stench of waste. When each bag is near full, these can be placed in a trench and covered with a later of dirt. When the trench is full, cover the entire trench with a sheet of tarp, and then cover the entire tarp with dirt.

Now everything is underground with a secondary barrier to help minimize or eliminate smells even more. Now dig a second trench and use it until full. Cover with tarp, dirt, and dig a third trench...

40. Stationary

There's no telling how long you may be living in an extended disaster and loss of power. Thus, books, paper, and pens/ pencils may be needed to fill time and communicate with others.

41. Building supplies

What if your house or property needs fixing? A hammer, nails, axe, and saw could be as important to you as clothes themselves. A stack of 2x4s and plywood of various thickness can also go a long way (especially should an earthquake, tornado, or even a flood or tsunami destroy homes in your area).

42. Alternative transportation

If cars and trucks are no longer running because of fuel shortages and lack of electricity to power fuel stations, bicycles, scooters and anything and everything else that moves can help you get around the area; that may even include snowshoes and or cross country skis depending on the season and where you live.

43. Backpacks and hiking boots

These could come in handy if you need to get going in a hurry. In the survivalist and prepper world this is called "bugging out."

Remember that if an order for a sudden evacuation is given (you may not know if you don't have that emergency radio mentioned earlier), pack a small expedition-rated tent along with a dark tarp to conceal it (both also mentioned earlier in this article).

By covering your tent with a dark tarp, you hide the value of your tent from passersby, and can effectively take on the appearance of a "hobo" of sorts, making you less of a target of a robbery. Choose boots that use eye-holes to lace up, from the bottom of the boot where your laces enter, all the way up around your ankle (if you have to make a run for it, other boots that don't lace up with eye holes can easily come untied; having your shoes come untied is the last thing you want to have happen should you have to run from danger one day unexpectedly).

44. Consider More Supplies than You Need

Last but not least ... Don't don't forget to have enough emergency supplies for everyone in your home. #44 in our list is a tip that covers the entire list above and then some.

Be prepared for friends or relatives who may show up at your door one day, unannounced. Their homes or regions may have been destroyed in a disaster and if you live in a distant town or area, they may seek you out for safe shelter and food.

So, if you're going to truly be prepared with emergency supplies, stock up on excess items with these people in mind. Take the time to talk to them today also, about items they should have around the home, even if it's just a "bug out" bag and critical supplies for their bug out bag, to get them out of a major city in an evacuation.

Welcome them to your home.

The last thing you want to have to do is make choices about who lives or dies. Besides that, God is watching my friend. In the Bible we're told that if we help meet the needs of others, we can count on God to meet our own needs (that of course calls for living by faith; think you're ready for that?)


Having an appropriate and versatile set of emergency supplies at your home and/ or workplace could mean the difference between living and dying in the coming years. We've all seen the potential for devastation out there (unfortunately, some of us have seen more than potential devastation). Now is the time to get ready for it.

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