I have had the chance to teach numerous emergency preparedness seminars to community groups. One of the key questions that I answer in these seminars is, "What should be in an emergency kit?"
Rather than just rattle off a list of supplies, I try to help the audience understand the "10 Basic Emergency Needs". Once they understand these needs, they can better evaluate various options of emergency supplies that will meet their specific needs while passing the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test" (more about the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test" after the "10 Basic Needs").
The "10 Basic Needs" in an emergency or disaster are essentially the same that we have in our daily lives but which we tend to take for granted unless we come under some stress that causes us to struggle to meet them.
For example, if we lose power or water due to an accident, storm, or other cause, most of us will begin almost immediately to feel inconvenienced. Should the outage continue past a few hours, we would begin to scramble to find alternate ways to hydrate and feed ourselves, to stay warm or cool, or to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation. We would then become more aware of the fact that there really are basic needs to be consistently met if we are to stay comfortable, safe, and healthy.
These "10 Basic Emergency Needs" to be met to keep us comfortable, safe and healthy in an emergency are:
When I give these 72 hour emergency preparedness seminars, I like to play a game in which I have 10 participants each hold an item that might go in an emergency kit. Each of these emergency preparedness items represents one of the 10 essential emergency needs. So one person has a light stick, another a pouch of water, another a food bar, and so on. I then ask them to line up in order of the importance of their "basic need".
It is always interesting and funny to watch the interaction as the participants each have different perspectives on what items are the most important in case of an emergency. Is it water, is it first aid, is it shelter?
As we talk through various disaster scenarios, it quickly becomes apparent that the items of most importance depend on the specific emergency situation. If you are losing large amounts of blood due to a wound, you most need a bandage, not a pouch of water. If you are uninjured but left outside in the heat of summer, you need a pouch of water, not a first aid dressing. Because emergencies by their nature are not totally predicatable, it is important to have supplies from each category of the "10 Basic Emergency Needs" in your emergency kit.
Having a feeling for the importance of all 10 basic needs helps people move beyond just filling a backpack by checking off a list to instead preparing a comprehensive emergency kit that they actually understand how to use. If there is little thought put into the actual supplies and packing of the emergency kit, the likelihood is that it will fall short of meeting the person's specific needs.
Once the audience understands the "10 Basic Emergency Needs", we then talk about various kinds of emergency supplies that can help them meet these needs. For example, when we discuss the need for light, we talk about light sticks, conventional flashlights, crank flashlights, lanterns and so forth.
As we discuss alternative supplies, I encourage the audience to use the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test" to guide them in choosing the emergency supplies that are most appropriate them.
What is the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test"? Well, a dictionary.com definition of "CLAD" is "To cover with a protective or insulating layer of... material." So, with your emergency kit, "Are you properly 'CLAD' to survive an emergency or disaster?"
As we develop each LifeSecure emergency kit, (like the Extreme 30-Person Evacuation & Shelter-In-Place Kit pictured at the beginning of this post) we use the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test" to make sure that we are providing an emergency kit and supplies that balance and optimize four key attributes of a good emergency kit:
C - Compact - small enough to reasonably store and transport
L - Lightweight -light enough to be practically transported in difficult conditions by the person who plans to use it
A- All-Hazards equipped - comprehensive and versatile for use in any emergency; with each supply item being as multi-functional as possible
D- Durable - able to perform in the tough conditions that often accompany an emergency
If your emergency kit balances these four attributes well, you stand a better chance of successfully and comfortably surviving an emergency or disaster. These attributes are especially important in an emergency or disaster that might require an evacuation.
So while you can find very helpful emergency kit supply list like this one from www.ready.gov ,it is important to do more than just throw the items on the list into a backpack.
My answer to the question, "What should be in an emergency kit?", is emergency supplies that:
1) meet all the "10 Basic Emergency Needs", and
2) that pass the "CLAD Emergency Kit Test."
Every Life Secure