Natural Disaster Survival Kit: 3 Key Questions You Must Ask

In college I lived in Tornado Alley. Now I live in the mid-Atlantic area where hurricanes come every summer. Once we had a hurricane and an earthquake in 2 weeks’ time.  But it got me to thinking about kits built for natural disasters.

So, I want to give you three pointers. These are helpful with natural disaster kits. After this article, you can put your own natural disaster kit together.

For starters, the 4 big natural disasters are these.  Hurricanes come with warning, but can last for hours or days. Tornados are sudden, quick and offer no warning. Floods and tsunamis can come with or without warning. Earthquakes are very short events. There is no warning and no escape.  Now, let’s identify the critical kit elements.

 

#1 QUESTION: ARE YOU ORGANIZED?

For instance, let’s say you want one giant bug out bag. With it, you could handle anything. But it would be huge. So you modularize your kit to overcome the problem. Each container represents a specialty. One solution is to use GearPods. These are clear plastic containers. You simply connect them with one another by screwing the lids together.

An alternative is to use plastic CD cases. I’m trying this method right now. One of my cases is medical. Another one is fire starting. I have a third one for tools and a fourth for shelter and illumination.

With modularization, you can configure a kit unique to your situation. For instance if the phones are down, you just grab the “comms” or communications kit.

 

#2 QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE CHECKLISTS?

Another essential item to have on hand is a set of checklists. Don’t forget decision lists and operating procedures.  Plan your response and make your decisions ahead of time. You will be saving brain space and allowing yourself to focus on other things.

So how do you put this idea together?

Start out with laminated cards. Make some with contact names. Next, make cards with bug out destinations. Third might be communications channels that everyone in your party agrees to connect on. Speaking of communications, let’s move to our third key question.
#3 QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS?

We won’t rely on the cell phone as the only line of defense with communications. Let’s assume that it won’t be working. Why? Because the towers will be down.

And we also don’t know how long the aftermath will be unfolding. So to get you started in the right direction, I’ve included 5 communications tools that may be a good fit for you.

  • Cell phone/texting is what everyone runs to first and the first option to lose service.  Wind up/dynamo radios eliminate batteries.
  • Shortwave is receive only but you can hear signals from around the world. If you can find a wind up, then say goodbye to batteries.
  • CB can handle a 1-2 mile radius. Cigarette lighters can power up your batteries here.
  • FRS/GMRS is common, but loses effectiveness with too many people.  Ham radio is flexible and includes handheld models, but requires a license.

 

CONCLUSION

You would think that all natural disasters need the same survival tools. That’s not true.  These three questions will help you set your plan, prioritize and be ready at a moment’s notice.  The next step? Ask yourself which of these disasters are most common in your area. Now plan your kit for that disaster. Up until last year, we’d never had an earthquake in Virginia. There’s always a first time.