Natural disasters can strike at any time, so the United States government recommends each family pack its own survival kit. These kits--also known as "bug-out bags" among survivalists--should have enough food, water and other supplies to last at least three days, recommends Ready.gov, and be light enough to carry for several miles.
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Food and Water
The most essential item to pack in a survival kit is water for drinking and sanitation. According to Ready.gov, a survival kit should have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. It should also contain at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food, such as granola, peanut butter, canned juices (don't forget a manual can opener), dried fruit and protein or fruit bars.
At a minimum, a first-aid kit in a survival bag should contain sterile gloves, sterile dressings, disinfectant, antibiotic and burn ointment, a thermometer and adhesive bandages. Ready.gov recommends packing tweezers, scissors and aspirin, as well as prescription medication and eyeglasses, if necessary.
Kits should include chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper, moist towelettes, garbage bags, toiletries and personal hygiene items. Ready.gov states that adding 16 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water makes it safe to drink.
Electronics and Tools
A survival kit should contain a flashlight and extra batteries, a cell phone and its charger, and a hand-crank or battery-powered radio, explains Ready.gov. Additionally, the University of Houston-Victoria suggests packing a "good multipurpose tool or work knife," such as a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Multi-Tool. A whistle to signal for help also comes in handy.
Money and Important Documents
Each survival kit should contain cash--including some small bills--and spare credit cards, states the National Hurricane Center. The University of Houston-Victoria says to keep a copy of a recent ATM receipt or bank statement in the survival kit. Also bring copies of important family documents, insurance policies and identification in a waterproof, portable container.
The University of Houston-Victoria recommends people pack at least two changes of clothes and a pair of "comfortable, well broken-in shoes." Ready.gov says the changes of clothes should include a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.