Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit on a Budget

June 26, 2017

Are you prepared for an emergency? After the travesty of Hurricane Katrina, many people are realizing that planning for an emergency is a necessity. There are many things you can do to plan for the unexpected, and one of the easiest things to put together is an emergency or disaster preparedness kit. It’s possible to buy kits that are pre-made, but cheaper to assemble one yourself and tailor it to your needs.

What is a disaster preparedness kit? Well, imagine if you have to evacuate your home on extremely short notice, perhaps in minutes. You may have to flee in your car or even on foot. If you don’t have a disaster kit you might waste precious time trying to gather items from around your house that you think you might need. But if you have prepared a bag in advance that you can conveniently grab from a closet or near the door then you will be able to make your escape fast.

Before you run off to the local camping supply store, look around your home for items that could be helpful. The first thing you need is a bag. An old book bag or duffel bag that’s no longer being used will do, just make sure it’s not so large that carrying it a long distance will be difficult. Next, start looking for items that could be useful in anyway, even if you don’t use them for their intended purpose.

Here are some examples:

  • An old pair of running shoes and extra socks
  • A few rolls of toilet paper
  • A few old candles that you no longer use and some matches
  • Old towels or scrap pieces of cloth (can be used for making bandages)
  • Unused pillowcases (use as an extra bag or stuff to make an impromptu pillow)
  • Belts have multiple uses such as securing items or making handles
  • Packs of playing cards or other small games
  • Cash
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and personal hygiene items
  • Duct tape, rope, string, wire, and small tools
  • First aid supplies
  • Anything else you can think of that might serve an important purpose and fit in your bag

Once you have your basic kit together, you can go shopping and fill in the blanks. A few bottles of water and some non-perishable food are essential. Use your imagination and fill your bag with items that have multiple uses. If you have a family, it’s a good idea for each person to have their own bag. If you have pets, make sure you have some sort of plan for them too.

Once you’ve made up your emergency kit, don’t forget about it. Once a year open it up and re-evaluate the contents. Keep it in the back of your mind because when you’re out perusing garage sales or thrift stores you might see something that could be useful. Don’t pass an item up if you already have it in your kit. It’s also a good idea to have a separate bag for your car, and even one to keep at you place of employment. You never know when disaster will strike!