From the beginning of mankinds time on earth, humans have tried to build homes that would keep their families safe. From caves to small huts to castles and underground bunkers, humans have continued to strive for safety.
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You never know when an occurrence in your area will cause you to make a quick evacuation from your home. Having an easy accessible emergency survival kit, containing important documents and supplies can go a real long way to making life easer for you and your family and help them survive a disaster.


1. Take baby steps
Do not let your fear or lack of experience overwhelm you. There are lots of encouraging articles and blogs online to set you on your way. And please, don’t let naysayers who are too lazy or too stupid tell you that it is not worth it.

2. Start out slowly
Don’t worry about the long term. When you are getting started, plan for a 3-day emergency supply. When you have more experience – and more confidence – you can expand to a 7-day, 30-day, or even an annual emergency supply. This means water (5 to 10 litres per person per day), non-perishable food items, some first aid supplies, packets of prescription medications, and, if you have pets, some pet food.

3. Plan for a power outage
An extended power outage is an event that occurs hand-in-hand with many other disasters. Pick up some extra flashlights, batteries, candles and waterproof matches. Later on, when you have the budget, you can purchase the more esoteric items such as an inverter or generator. If you have a gas barbecue keep a spare gas bottle.

4. Determine the most likely natural event in your area
Every geographical area is predisposed to some type of emergency. Do live in a flood zone? Then that should be your focus. The same thing applies to earthquake, flood, and volcani areas. Live in the city? Perhaps you should prepare for civil unrest.

5. Create an emergency contact list
Well in advance, prepare a list of emergency contacts for police, fire, doctors, hospitals, and family members and close friends. Be sure to include telephone numbers, cell phone numbers, and email addresses. There is no guarantee that any one method will work if the emergency is dire.

6. Stockpile as much water as you can and learn to purify the rest
Store as much water as you can. Also check out secondary sources of water that you can use in an emergency (like ponds, creeks, or lakes) and learn how to safely filter and purify water for drinking purposes. At the least get hold of a few empty plastic 20lite containers that you can fill somewhere.

7. Gather important documents
Obtain copies of your drivers license, passport, marriage license, emergency contacts, and medical history and keep them somewhere handy so you can grab and go if you have to. These documents will assist rescue workers and first responders in identification and in providing you with adequate medical care, if needed. It also would not hurt to include some pictures of yourself with family members. I like to store this information on a flash drive along with other information such as survival manuals, home inventories and such. Also, it could be important to have account information and insurance policies handy.

8. Develop a communications and transportation plan
If the SHTF and you are not at home, what then? This is where a plan becomes important. Make a plan that identifies how loved ones will connect with each other in the event there is a natural disaster or other crisis. Come up with a meeting place, and if possible, run a drill or two so you become familiar with the process.

9. Purchase beans and rice and learn how to cook them
Beans and rice are chock-full of calories and, in the case of beans, extremely nutritious. Stock up on dried beans and rice then learn how to cook them off grid, and outdoors over an open fire or rocket stove that you can build yourself. For very little money and with very little skill, you will keep hungry bellies full when there is no other food to be had.

10. Come up with secondary sanitation solutions
This is a topic of vital importance. In some situations, the infrastructure can fail so thoroughly that you no longer have running water or flushing toilets. In that situation, what will you do? You can stock up on supplies for hand hygiene. You can also use kitty litter and a bucket to make a temporary toilet for the family. Also keep a good stock of toilet paper.

11. Work toward optimal physical fitness
Exercise regularly and stay in shape. This does not mean that you have to be thin. Rather, build up your stamina and strength so that you can perform manual labor for extended periods. Hike, power walk, lift weights, bicycle; just pick something and stick with it so that you reduce body fat and build up muscle endurance and physical tolerance.

12. Learn basic skills
Learn to garden and grow some food. Anyone can learn to grow lettuce and potatoes! Start preserving food and learn to preserve what you grow! Take up fishing or hunting. Go camping and learn to build a fire and sleep outdoors. Fire up the barbie and learn to bake bread, steam vegetables, and make pancakes on on open grill or fire. The possibilities are endless plus, you can involve all members of your family while turning basic skill building in to a hobby.

13. Get to know your neighbors
Get to know your neighbors, or, if you live in a remote area, the people in the surrounding community. These are the people that will watch your back and help you out if the SHTF and you are really in trouble. And likewise, you should be inclined to help them out if they are worse off than you following a disaster. I am not talking about giving assistance or handouts to free loaders.

14. Develop a community of like-minded preppers
Regardless of where you live or your family situation, become a community with others. Even if your community consists of only two or three persons, these few people will serve as your support group and sounding board for the tactical decisions you will make when things get tough. In addition, you need at least one other person to watch your back as you will watch theirs.

15. Create a survival library
No one can remember every single detail about every single subject. As practiced and skilled as you may be, there will always be a situation where you either forgot or just plain do not know. Build up a survival library. Binders full of paper are good but so are electronic readers and tablets that can easily be powered using inexpensive solar chargers.

16. Put together a basic emergency (bug out) bag
If your home is no longer safe, you may be required to bug out. This may as simple as retreating to a friend or relative’s home or as complicated as hiking in a storm to the nearest shelter twenty kilometers away. Regardless of where you bug out to, you are going to need some basics to help you get by. A basic bug out bag that is light enough to carry when fully loaded, is something every member of the family should possess.

17. Practice an evacuation plan
Sometimes a disaster occurs that causes your home to no longer be safe to live in. If this occurs for whatever reason, plan to leave. Map out an evacuation route in advance. Determine two or three different ways to physically exit your home and then two or three ways to find your way out of the immediate area. At least one of the routes should avoid major streets and arterial locations. Once you develop an evacuation plan, practice by traveling each route at least once annually. Don’t forget that events can occur that would require you to leave on foot. Make arrangements for this possibility as well, and include the needs of your four-pets in your proposed course of action.

18. Plan for comfort foods and amusements
When panic and fear set in, there is nothing like a bag of cookies, some crackers and cheese from a box, a juicy paperback and, for kids of all ages, a snuggly teddy bear. Add some coloring books and colored pencils, playing cards, board games, popcorn (which can be popped over an over fire), and a book of Sudoku and you are all set.

19. Learn the basics of first aid and survival medicine
Put together a comprehensive first aid kit that includes trauma supplies as well as protection gear to keep you safe in the sick room. Acquire extra prescription medications as well as antibiotics and essential oils. Learn about herbal medicine and keep a good book on survival medicine on hand as a reference.

20. Be prepared to defend your home, family and supplies
This is a very unpopular part of preparedness, and it is what causes others to look at us like we’re crazy. But, as unpleasant as it is, in a crisis people can be depended upon to behave badly. And the more desperate they become, the more dangerous they are to you, your family, and your supplies.

Many families have had their lives changed forever by disasters in New Zealand in recent years. Having a survival plan could go a long way to helping your family during and after a disaster in New Zealand. Learn how to prepare your home and family for survival in a disaster in New Zealand.