13 essential things everyone should have in their emergency survival kit

It's one of the most important things in your house. Here's what you need to make an emergency survival kit to help you and your family survive a disaster

Think of all the things you use and things you need to get through a normal day. It's probably quite a lot, right? Now imagine having to evacuate your house because of a bushfire, flood or cyclone-what will you need, where is it, what have you forgotten?

And an emergency survival kit isn't just useful for emergency evacuations. What if you're stuck in your house for days on end because of a storm or flood? What if there's a power cut?

An emergency kit contains all the essential things you need to help you and your family during and after an emergency-things that will help you survive; things that will help you recover-all in the same place and ready to go.

It should be an essential item for your house-and here's how to make one.

How to make an emergency survival kit

Chances are you'll already have many of the things you need in the house, especially if you have camping equipment. If you need to buy anything, you don't have to do it all at once. Just buy a few items each time you shop-lots of things can be picked up from the supermarket or even the $2 shop. Here are some essentials you should put in your kit-and don't forget to have enough for everyone in the house.

Water is the most important thing you need to survive. Make sure you have enough for everyone in your house. A good rule is at least three litres person for at least three days. Keep it in an air tight container for no more than 12 months. Remember to never drink tap water after an emergency until authorities have advised it's safe.

Second on the list is food. Remember to have enough supplies for the whole household to survive for at least three days. Your best bet is tinned food with a long shelf life-and remember to only store things that are easy to prepare or can be eaten as they are. A small gas-fuelled camping stove , pan and cutlery would be useful if you have them

If the power's out, or you have to leave at night, you're going to need light-and make sure you have a torch if you have to walk anywhere. Remember not to leave the batteries in it when stored.  You could also get a wind-up torch or special lights designed for power cuts and emergencies.

In this day and age, most of us don't carry much cash at all. But if banks and ATMs stop operating in an emergency or if shops don't have power, how are you going to pay for anything? Store some cash in your kit so you can get your essentials when you need to.

In an emergency  you want to know what's going on and radio is often your best source of information.  Mark the frequencies of your ABC Local Radio and any other local radio services on the dial so you don't forget. Buy a wind up radio and you won't have to rely on batteries.

Pack a spare charger or a charged battery pack for your phone. A solar charger is good in case the power is out.  Also consider keeping an older landline phone that isn't reliant on power-your telephone exchange may still operate even if the power is out.

First aid kit
A first aid kit is vital in an emergency. Buy a first aid kit for your house-and it's always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car too. And if you haven't already, it's a wise idea to take a first aid training course.

Medical supplies or equipment
If you take regular medicine, make sure you keep a supply of your medications in your emergency kit, alongside a list of their title, dosage and copies of your prescriptions. Make sure they don't expire and plan to have 14 days' worth of any medications you might need.

Having toiletries can help keep you refreshed and give you a sense of routine. You might not be able to shower, but having some wet wipes and being able to brush your teeth will make you feel a whole lot better. Remember sunscreen and insect repellent.

Spare clothes
If you have to evacuate the house, you'll appreciate s a change of clothes after a day or two. Pack some warm clothes in case its cold and some lighter layers if its hot-don't forget a wide-brimmed hat. Waterproofs would come in handy if the weather's bad too. Consider clothes made from natural fibres and try to pack sturdy shoes or boots and heavy-duty gloves.

Pet essentials
Don't forget to look after your pets in a disaster. Factor your pet into water needs, include food for them and make sure your dog or cat is registered and microchipped. Having a pet carrier in the house would be very useful if you have to leave.

Copies of your important documents
Your identity and financial documents will help you to get your life back on track after a disaster. Keep copies of all your important document in your kit and have back up copies stored online in the cloud or a locked drawer at work. You should include copies of your passport, bank details, driver's licence, medical information and prescription, insurance policies, land titles mortgage papers, wills marriage and birth certificates. Don't forget to include your emergency plan!

Entertainment for you and your children
Evacuating your home can mean a lot of waiting around. Keep boredom at bay and help keep your mind off things by packing something to read or something to do. And don't forget your children. They will need familiar things to help comfort them in a stressful and uncertain situation. Talk to your kids about what's important to them.

How and where to store an emergency survival kit

With your kit now packed, you'll have everything you need to survive and recover from an emergency-but you'll need to put it in something.

Choose a sturdy container-preferably waterproof -such as a storage box on wheels with handles and a watertight seal. Alternatively you can use a large sports bag, backpack or a suitcase with wheels.

Store your emergency survival kit where it's easy to access, mark it clearly, and put some reflective
tape on it so it can be seen easily in darkness. Make sure everyone in your household and personal safety network knows where it is.

Get prepared for disasters and emergencies

Emergencies can happen at any time. They could be as large as a bushfire or as personal as a death in the family.
And an emergency can disrupt your life in ways you don't expect. You could experience stress and anxiety, relationship problems and financial hardships, often for years to come. Being prepared makes it much easier for you to recover.

And getting prepared for a disaster is easy. Get your RediPlan: a free guide that shows you how you  prepare for a disaster and make an emergency plan in four simple steps.