How to build an essential emergency kit

by Jan 14, 2021Preparation

Why do I need an Emergency kit?  Having a good set of Emergency kits will make facing a disaster a lot easier.  By having a set of checklist for each emergency kit you will be better prepared, not relying on your memory and be more self-sufficient after the disaster, relying less on time poor emergency services. 

There are many different types of kits depending on your local situation.  Planning ahead and being prepared will make living through a disaster a bit easier.  Develop your kit each week, buying a couple of food items with each shop.  Check it regularly for old or missing items and ensure everyone in the house knows where it is in the event of a disaster.

 Once the disaster has been named resources and food will quickly disappear off the shelves by those less prepared.  And if the is road or rail lines are cut by the disaster resupply may take some time to occur resulting in no food or rations.  This is why your kits should be able to sustain you for 3 to 7 days.  Even longer if you are in a remote area, easily cut off with limited communications.

 The different kits can all be placed together to form a bigger kit stored in your safe area, ensuring it is easily accessible.  Each kit has a specific purpose depending on number of days it covers, number of people, and the function of the kit.  You can download a printable comprehensive list of items that go in each kit by clicking here.

What are the different types of emergency kits?

Basic essentials kit

The essential everyday items you need in all situations.  This kit should last at least 3 to 7 days.  The contents of each kit will be different depending on how many people are in the household, their age, special needs, pets and your location.

 This kit forms the beginning of each other kit.  For easy of carrying in a disaster keep the items small they only have to last 3 to 7 days, you don’t need a bulk pack of anything.  Aim to have each person with a carry bag or back pack and fit their items in their back pack.  Divide up items between each person in the event someone is separated from the rest of the family they still have supplies.  Having the bag permanently packed allows for quite grab and run in a disaster.

 Evacuation Centre kit

If an evacuation is required you have some options on where you go.  You may choose to go to relatives, friends, motel, evacuation early out of town or to a nominated evacuation centre.  The number of evacuation centres available will depend on the size of the disaster, availability of suitable buildings and number of staff available to run them.  These centres are set up for short periods of time and have limited space and resources.  Some of the more specialised centres such as a severe cyclone rated shelter may only have enough space for you to sit in a chair with a bag under the chair.  Where as other centres may be set up in schools or halls and they have a single bed size area for you (bed may not be included listen to your local in

Being a disaster, these centres will most likely not have electricity, internet access, and limited sanitation (limited number of toilets and possibly no showers) so you may be in for a few days of roughing it but be patient as the whole area is affected.

Household emergency kit

This kit includes items you may need before, during and after the event.  This can be a bigger kit stored in a safe area. The kit can contain items such as bedding, tarpaulins, rope, sand bags, tools etc.  The smaller kits form part of this kit.  The items can be stored in water proof plastic storage boxes available at most hardware, and home shops.  To make it easier to find items organise like items together in each box, for example, box for linen, box for tools.

 Locate these kits in an easily accessible spot for quick access during a disaster.

 Evacuation locally kit

Instead of going to a designated evacuation centre you are going to friends, family or a motel.  There should be less restrictions on the size of this kit.  What you take may be determined by the requests of the party you are going to.  For example, a friend might ask you to bring bedding as they don’t have enough pillows and blankets.

 Again, this kit may have to last 3 to 7 days as the local authorities need to time to resource local amenities, electricity, food supplies and more.



Emergency Kit


Evacuation out of town kit

The scope of the disaster is too large for the local authorities to handle and too dangerous for the citizens to stay in their homes.  This can be a wild fire, severe cyclone, severe flood and the like.  An evacuation can be called if it is too dangerous to stay where you are or the authorities don’t have the staff and resources to protect your home.  Evacuations can be voluntary or mandatory, either way you should give yourself enough time to evacuate before the event hits your area.  REMEMBER if you choose to stay during an evacuation order you will most likely be on your own with no assistance from emergency services.

The advantage of leaving town is that you are going to an area which has not been affected by the disaster so the kit may only need to last until you reach your destination.  Keeping that in mind if the entire town is evacuating to the next town that town will quickly run out of resources due to the extra demand from the evacuees on shops and businesses.

Vehicle kit

Items that should be in your vehicle in case of a disaster or accident.  The extent of this list will depend on your location and where you are travelling to.  Check road reports before heading out as you may have to alter your kit to suit the situation.

Even if your plan is to just travel 20 minutes to the next suburb, you could get caught in a traffic jam for hours, a storm or flash flooding.  Stuck in traffic for more than an hour you start to wish you had something to eat or drink, especially if the kids are in the back.

First aid kit

A standard kit available in almost every shop or chemist.  Come in a range of sizes from small personal carry kits, household kits, vehicle kits, to remote or industrial kits.  These kits should be checked regularly for items that have been used and not replaced, and items that are out of date.

Store the first aid kit in a water proof container to keep it clean and hygienic.  If the container is not a designated first aid kit ensure it is clearly marked to be identified easily.





Infection control kit

Disasters can be the cause of disease spread and good hygiene is a must.  Even more with the evolution of the Covid 19 virus.  During disasters you can be exposed to raw sewerage, industrial chemicals, bacteria, viruses, asbestos particles, E.coli, salmonella, Gastro, moulds and more.  Having a  good kit on hand will help you stay healthier.  In order to control infection, you need to keep yourself and your environment clean as possible.  In contaminated areas such as flooded homes, take extra care not to injury yourself on sharp objects or trip hazards.

 This kit can contain personal protective equipment, sanitiser, soaps, cleaning products.  This kit will have an everyday use in protecting you from disease and if you volunteer to help others clean up afterwards.  Helping other to clean up exposes you to a lot of contamination as the mud, wet carpet etc has been brewing the bacteria for a while and will stink, avoid contact with eyes, mouth, nose or wounds.

 Bug out bag

Similar to the essentials kit but is more based around fast evacuation in case of big disasters such as nuclear attack, war, or any other catastrophe.  It may include survival items, weapons and the like but it has to be light enough to carry as transport systems may not be available.  Each kit will depend on your situation, area, skills etc.  The time frame for the kit to last will differ too depending on where you are going and how long you need to be there (days, weeks, months).


Planning ahead and being prepared will make living through a disaster a bit easier.  Emergency services may be swamped or not available so you will have to look after yourself for at least 3 to 7 days.  Food and resources run out quickly during disasters so you need to prepare your kits well in advance.  Don’t forget to download your free set of checklists here.

Develop your emergency kit each week, check it regularly for old or missing items and ensure everyone in the house knows where it is in the event of a disaster.



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