Many disasters that befall people and homes can be mitigated with some basic preparation. Every homeowner and family should have a disaster preparedness kit, complete with food and water, medications, flashlights, batteries, and an emergency tool or two.
As it may seem like a bit much, there are some tools that no prepper should be without. Whether you’re preparing for a natural disaster, an economic collapse, or just a sudden power outage, there’s no way to tell what situation you might find yourself in.
The trick to being prepared is not only having them but knowing how to use your tools. You don’t have to learn everything about these tools at once; take it one day and one tool at a time. Once you think you’ve mastered a tool, move on to the next one.
There are dozens of other tools that could come in handy during an emergency, but here’s a list of the top 5 survival tools no prepper should be without.
1. Fire extinguisher
When it comes to emergency tools, the first thing that comes to mind is fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are designed to fight small fires in their early stages. However, if a fire becomes large and spreads, you should leave immediately and let the professionals handle it.
Take a look at your home and think about which areas can be potential fire hazards. The kitchen may be the most obvious with all of those appliances, but there might be other areas you hadn’t considered before.
The garage or workshop might have some power tools that could easily spark a fire if they malfunction. Also, check out your outdoor space for bonfire-friendly areas like your patio or deck. The key is to put at least one emergency fire extinguisher within easy reach of these rooms and spaces.
A good fire extinguisher is rated for use on multiple fires (class ABC or class ABCD). This way, it can be used on all common household fires, including electrical, liquid, and oil fires. It’s also essential to have a fire extinguisher with a pressure gauge to know when it is time to have it recharged.
Additionally, replace your fire extinguisher if it’s old or hasn’t been inspected recently, and make sure everyone in your family knows how to use it properly. You can also put together an emergency “go” bag or kit with a first-aid kit, blankets, and other essentials to help you survive until help arrives in natural disasters, such as wildfires or hurricanes.
2. Power generator
The power grid is a vast network of generators, transmission lines, and distribution systems designed to supply your home with electricity. But like any system built by humans, it can fail. The results can be devastating when this happens: Even a brief loss of electricity can lead to significant financial losses for businesses and individuals alike.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that power outages cost the U.S. economy $20 billion to $55 billion each year. When the lights go out, the average business loses as much as $8,000 per hour in sales. That’s why it’s so important for anyone who relies on electricity to have an emergency power plan in place — and that means having a good backup power generator at your disposal.
As there are plenty of battery-powered lights and portable chargers available on the market today, having a backup generator will allow you to keep important appliances running during an emergency.
A generator will help you keep lights on and stay in contact with first responders if an emergency strikes. To determine which type of power generator is right for you, consider your needs and budget. If you have limited space and only need to run one appliance at a time, then an inverter generator will work better for you than a diesel generator.
However, a diesel generator will be more suitable if you have more appliances running during an emergency and constantly require more electricity.
3. Water filter & purification system
One of the most important things to have in an emergency is clean drinking water. Without food, our bodies can survive for a week or two, but we can only last a few days without water. If a natural disaster hits your area, you may find yourself in dire need of clean drinking water, and depending on the scale of the disaster, it could take weeks before help arrives.
This is especially true if you are stranded in the wilderness, where your only water sources may be streams or ponds contaminated with animal feces or other pollutants.
It’s good to have a purifier water bottle like the big berkey water filter on hand rather than relying solely on iodine tablets and boiling water, which can take up to 15 minutes to kill harmful bacteria. This bottle takes the guesswork of purifying your water by filtering it and releasing iodine into the solution while you drink.
4. Emergency Kit
In an emergency, you need to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or just a car accident, having the right tools can make all the difference.
The first step in preparing for an emergency is assembling an emergency kit. A basic kit should contain, at minimum, food, water, and medical supplies. The American Red Cross recommends storing enough supplies for at least three days.
You can buy a premade emergency first aid kit at almost any pharmacy or big-box retailer. These are great for on-the-go needs, like when you’re camping or hiking. But these premade kits won’t be enough if you need to stay put for days or weeks.
What should you keep in your home emergency kit? Here are the basics:
Food and Water
You will need a gallon of water per person per day in your household, both for safe drinking water and sanitation purposes. Be sure to store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food that does not require cooking or refrigeration to prepare. Include a manual can opener if you are storing canned goods.
In addition to prescription medications, you regularly use, including over-the-counter pain relievers, antacids, and diarrhea medications. You will also want gauze pads and bandages for wounds, antibacterial ointment for cuts and burns, and latex gloves to help prevent infection.
A solar-powered lamp is a smart addition to your home emergency kit, especially if you live in an area prone to major power outages. However, it won’t provide the same kind of light as a generator, it will help you keep your loved ones safe.
Imagine being able to wake up and move around your house without having to use a flashlight. That’s the benefit of a solar-powered lamp. Another big benefit is that the lamp is completely portable, so you can take it if the power outage forces you from your home.
A multitool is just like how it sounds – it’s a handy tool with multiple functions. Instead of having to lug around a large toolbox everywhere you go, you can keep just one handy tool with you.
The best part about having a multitool is that they’re versatile and can function as several different tools within one device. Whether you’re looking for pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, or wire cutters – there are plenty of options!
Something is satisfying about owning a multitool. Being prepared for any situation is empowering, and with a multitool in your pocket, you’re ready to meet any challenge head-on. However, as good as they are in theory, many multitools don’t always deliver.
The edges of the pliers aren’t sharp enough to cut through anything, the blades are too flimsy, or the tool doesn’t look like it could handle any stress at all. But if you pick up a Leatherman Skeletool, you’ll have an emergency tool that can actually get the job done.
The appeal of multitools is that they’re compact and hence very easy to carry around. If you need to do some light maintenance on your car or open up a delivery package while on the road, they can do the job quite well. They are also more affordable than dedicated toolsets.
On the other hand, multitools aren’t necessarily very durable. They’re generally made of plastic or thin metal, such as aluminum, instead of steel or iron. Their edges are often rounded off rather than sharpened. This means they’re not always suitable for more serious tasks like emergency repairs on moving vehicles or dealing with intruders in the house. But ultimately, it is worth a while.
Overall, we think that having the right tools can quickly and efficiently improve your chances of getting out of a rut or just a slightly bad mood. However, no one agency can solve all problems; even if you have access to the world’s supply of Scotch tape, it doesn’t make your commute any shorter.
If you have the right tool for the job, you can certainly get by with less hassle and stress. And who knows? That could be just what you need to get through your day.