Create Your Own Survival Kit

Being prepared for an emergency can make the experience less difficult to deal with. Heavy snowstorms may keep you homebound for several days. High winds can knock out electric power and this can take several days for repair. A basic survival kit is easy to put together and it can be designed around your personal needs. Consider the types of events you are most likely to face and keep them in mind when building your kit.

Survival kits can be put together in different sizes. You may want to have a small kit for use in your car and a larger kit for your home. An 18 to 30 gallon (68 to 114 liter) plastic tote container can be used to store items for easy access.

Basic survival kit needs:

  • First aid kit with a variety of bandages, gauze and medical tape, antiseptic towelettes, burn cream, tweezers and aspirin. Modify your kit to meet your needs. Consider purchasing a prepackaged kit for economy and convenience.
  • Bottled water can take up space. The average recommendation is to have one gallon of water per person, per day, with a three-day minimum. In addition to storing water, you should have water purification tablets or filters available.
  • Non-perishable food items including crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts and canned meats are some of the items that you can add to your survival kit. Remember to include a can opener even if your cans have pop off tops.
  • Candles with matches and a flashlight, with extra batteries, will provide a light source. You might add one or two small solar powered yard lights to your kit. These can be charged outside and then used inside.
  • Emergency radios are available that can be powered by a crank handle. Some models even have the ability to charge a cell phone.
  • Comfort needs may include blankets, a rain poncho and hand sanitizer.

Unique personal needs:

  • If you or any family members take a prescription, try to keep enough on hand for emergencies. Rotate the supply to keep it from expiring.
  • Pets will also need food and water. Dry or canned can be stored but remember to include a can opener.
  • A baby in the household will require diapers, food and formula if used.


  • Add a container of baby wipes to your kit. These can be used for cleaning hands or freshening up.
  • Rotate food items in your kit to keep food fresh.
  • Organize kits with other family members or neighbors to increase the variety.

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