Emergency supplies you need

The Importance Of Having Emergency Supplies

September is National Preparedness Month and to celebrate, here are 6 essential emergency supplies that you should keep on hand at all time. These bits of kit are essential in an emergency.

You probably have some of them already, but it's always a good idea to have more. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

In the wake of a natural disaster, getting stranded on the side of the road, or if lost camping in the backcountry, these are tools that can help keep you alive.

A Flashlight And Batteries

A flashlight and some batteries

One of the first emergency supplies to have - and indeed have multiples - is a flashlight and spare batteries for same, and for obvious reasons. During widespread power outages, whatever the cause might be, you're going to need a source of light and one of the best to have are a supply of flashlights and batteries.

Candles are also good to have, though they can be a fire hazard. Lanterns, such as propane, white gas or oil lanterns, are as well but they're really best for outdoor use. Liquid and gas fuels produce carbon dioxide when they burn, which is bad news indoors.

Given the ubiquity and so on of flashlights, clearly they're the way to go.

You can go cheap and cheerful, or spend on quality. You can select small and easy-carrying, or enormous. There are incandescent bulbs, HD and LED lights. Ultimately, you want the largest amount of light you can get in the type of flashlight that you want. A headlamp or two is also a good idea.

Bottled Water Or A Big Ol' Water Jug

You'll need a lot of water

You'll also need an emergency supply of water, as you're going to need it to drink, cook and possibly clean. Thus, you should always keep either some water on hand in case of emergencies or the means to keep some.

A case or two of bottled water is easy enough to stow in the garage or pantry. It's also a good idea to have a few large jugs as well, such as a 5-gallon or 10-gallon or two.

One of the first things that a person is recommended to do during a natural disaster is to fill the bathtub with water before the utilities stop working. If you happen to have the opportunity, you might want to get the jugs filled first. You also probably don't want to drink out of the tub.

With the proper container, water can keep a very long time indeed. You may wish to get some treatment drops for storing in large containers, but municipal tap water is actually chlorinated to prevent growth of algae and other germs. With safe, food-grade storage, it should keep a few years.

The average need is a gallon per person per day, so you may want to start building up a store.

Your Concealed Carry Gun

Your favorite concealed carry gun in an Alien Gear Holster

Another critical piece of safety equipment that's good to have in case of emergency is a concealed carry gun. The items on this list will help keep you alive in the food/water/shelter sense, this will keep you alive in a different sense outside of using your handgun to go hunting.

While emergencies and natural disasters can bring out the best in people, they can also bring out the worst. In the right situation, the better aspects of our nature can be set aside for the baser ones. The goal of civilization is to keep the life of man from being - as Hobbes put it - poor, nasty, brutish and short.

A concealed carry gun, concealed in a good holster and supported by a good gun belt, can at least keep yours from being cut short.

Camp Stove And Fuel

You'll need a camp stove and fuel for food & drinks

No matter what, you're going to need to eat and if the power is out...that means the microwave and the over aren't going to be working. A camp stove and a supply of fuel are therefore also good to have as emergency supplies.

They're also great for camping trips, so it's just a good bit of gear to have period.

There are a lot of different types out there, from bottle-top single burners to three-burner stoves good for cooking for large groups. Fuel is something else to consider; generally you can choose propane or liquid fuel stoves. Propane is easier to deal with - you can get a lot of bottles, after all - but liquid fuels (kerosene, white gas, others) are cheaper and you can store a lot more in less space. However, such fuels must be handled with great care as some fuels are quite volatile.

New models of either go for about $50 and up...but if you're willing to fettle about the used market, you can usually pick up the old-school Coleman white gas stoves for a pittance. Parts are still widely available and cheap. However, portability is a good thing to consider. If you need to be able to move, consider a backpacking model instead. Having both isn't a bad idea either.

Emergency Food Supplies

Having a few MRE's handy could help in the long run

Of course, emergency food supplies are another essential. What's in the fridge and/or the freezer don't have long - maybe a few hours in the fridge, maybe a day or two in a deep freezer - so you're going to need some emergency food supplies.

Obviously, canned goods and dried goods are plentiful, so you can build up a store of them rather easily. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are out there as well, some of which come in large portions that a person or a family can eat on for some time if need be.

There is also a wealth of information out there on food preservation. Canning, dehydrating, potting and so on are all viable methods of food preservation, which can be used to build up a store of emergency rations or for general use.

A good idea is to have at least a week's worth of food on hand at all times, in case of emergency. What that consists of is up to you.

Bug Out Bag

A bug out bag with extra supplies if you need to hoof it out of the area can save your hide

A bug out bag, filled with survival essentials, is a great thing to have in case you need to get out of an area on foot. How much gear goes in there is up to you, of course, as well as the size of the pack itself.

The standard backpack that most kids take to school has about 20 to 30 liters of storage volume. A daypack for hitting trails in the backcountry is more like 45 liters. An extended-range pack, for extended hikes, holds 70 liters or more.

Some people believe a BUB should be good for a couple days, some believe it should be enough to live out of if need be. Some people think it should be somewhere in between. A 45- to 60-liter pack isn't too big, but is definitely practical enough, so that would be a good middle ground.

Some good items to always keep in one include emergency blankets, a tarp for shelter, matches and/or a few lighters, a sleeping bag, a few days of emergency rations, portable cooking gear, water filtration, some paracord, a first aid kit, a folding saw, a hatchet and a change of clothes including a decent pair of socks. A few packable layers, such as a rain jacket or poncho and a warm layer, are also a good idea.

Granted, a decent pack and the stuff you'll want to fill it with will cost you a bit, but not too much. You could easily put one together for about $200. Heck, even if you never have to bug out, you also can go backpacking. There's some amazing backcountry out there, and you should definitely see some.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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