In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina horror show, I've decided to make an emergency kit. I get full support from the lady of the house. In fact, her father was pumped up I was making a kit and managed to give me a wilderness-survival-hunting-defense knife. We've been making a list of things to throw into the kit, and I thought sharing it might be a help. I have items that are more for short term problems than long term. Separated so you can tell the difference (food & water are both long/short).
48-72 hours (see here)
Non-perishable food, beef jerky, granola bars, energy gels (obviously long term also)
Water - 5 gallon juggs
Can opener - handcrank
5 Gallon bucket - waste disposal
Plastic Trashbags - transport things, stores water, makeshift cover over doorways/windows in case bio/chem attack, waste disposal if toilets don't work and can no longer 'force flush'
Flashlight - I recommend MagLites
D cell batteries for my radio/flashlight
20 AA or AAA batteries for transistor radio
First aid kit - band aids, gauze, medical tape, basics
Leatherman - good for long term, too
First aid kit - military or just a field kit; transportable in case you need to be on the move
Medical Masks - Filters out harmful particles and pathogens
Maxipads/tampons - besides feminine needs, great absorber of blood if deeply cut
Baby Wipes - cleans a lot, besides your backside
Paper towels/tissues/napkins - you don't want to use leaves for delicate parts
Sleeping Bags - Purchasing these this weekend
poncho/windpants - being dry is important, the combo shorts/windpants sold a few years ago by Abercrombie and other retailers are perfect for this
Fleece jacket or liner - keep warm without bulk, some fleece jackets are 'tested' to 31 F or lower; you can walk without breaking a sweat
Knives (sharpener as well) - utility/defense - we have enough right now and they are plenty sharp
Crowbar - breaking glass and self defense
Water purification tablets - these are easier to lug than water purification units
Trashbags - water transport and makeshift ponchos if needed
Hiking Pack or Backpack - I grew up in Maine, I already have two (hiking backpack and a hiking hip pack). You need these to transport all of your gear
Winter gear - If a horrible snowstorm or if nuclear winter occurs, gloves/hats/wool socks are needed
$100+ in cash and some Cigs - Something for trade, Cigs work well as cash substitute
Now if you have seen the newscasts, you know what happened in New Orleans after 2-3 days. People degenerate into primal behaviors when put into extremely stressful situations. It would not be a bad idea to pack a firearm. I suggest a shotgun as it is easy to sling over a shoulder, does not require super accuracy (buckshot number 1), and the sound of the shotgun being pumped alone can scare people off. You never want to be in a position where you have to fire your weapon on another human, but desperate times make desperate men and women.
Ultimately, you need to make the emergency pack suit your needs and geographic/environmental problems. Good luck, and if anyone has suggestions, let me know personal ideas, especially for a northern climate.
I recently read Freakonomics, Blink, The Tipping Point and I am finishing Moneyball this week. I will be back with reviews.