No matter which region of the country you call home buying or building a disaster survival kit is a wise investment. The type of disaster you prepare for will add some distinction to the survival kit. The southwest is prone to forest fires and earthquakes. The northeast is prone to blizzards. The Midwest suffers from floods and tornadoes. The southeast faces the onslaught of hurricanes. These disasters can alter the course of daily life and necessitate being met with prior preparation.
A disaster survival kit of any kind should be able to provide food, water, heat, light, shelter and first aid/medical treatment for a minimum of three days for each person. Of these water is the most critical. In cities disasters can drastically reduce the supply of drinkable water. Setting aside bottled water ahead of time is a good idea. A person needs approximately one gallon of water each day; half for drinking, the other half for maintaining hygiene and sanitation.
Variety can be found in abundance when fashioning a disaster survival kit. Many options are available for food from MRE to protein bars, to canned goods and dehydrated foods. Fire starting kits and sterno canisters are options for heating. Light sources range from LED flashlights to crank operated (battery free) flashlights to glow sticks and candles. When building or buying a disaster survival kit evaluate what a product offers versus what your needs might be for a given disaster, and err to the side of caution.
When purchasing or assembling a disaster survival kit keep in mind that personal touches are often needed. Consider adding a supply of prescription medications or extra formula and diapers for infants. If personal documents are in danger of being lost (birth certificates, wills, marriage licenses, etc.) perhaps try vacuum sealing copies in food saver bags and keeping those with your disaster kit as well.
Lastly the disaster survival kit should be stored where it is easily accessible when needed. Experts recommend a kit for the home, work, and vehicle since you don’t know where you’ll meet with a disaster. A good location for the home kit might be an interior hallway closet or a storm cellar. If coordinating with others have a plan for where to meet and be sure as many people as are using the disaster kit are familiarized with its usage. And finally remember that the disaster survival kit is temporary. The day will come when it is put back in the hallway closet and life returns to normal.