Emergency preparedness: Build your own emergency kit

Photo credit: Consumer NZ

The consumer organisation Consumer NZ has labelled many of the pre-made emergency kits sold in New Zealand a ‘disaster’. A recent test by Consumer NZ showed that off-the-shelf emergency kits either lacked key items or performed poorly in tests. Their main finding was that people are better off building their own ‘getaway kit’ rather than buying a commercial one.

Putting together your own survival gear not only offers better value for money but also provides a good starting point for a discussion with your family or flatmates about what your plan will be in an emergency. The Ministry of Defence offers an easy-to-use PDF that guides you through a few things to consider in an emergency plan.

Emergency preparedness. Despite being faced with a number of natural disasters in the last decade, the emergency-preparedness of New Zealanders is still poor. A report last year by the Royal Society of New Zealand on the implications of climate change, suggests that in particular floods are likely to become more common in the future, further highlighting the importance of being emergency prepared. This means being prepared to survive for a few days at home when the lights go out and the water stops running but it is also crucial to have an emergency grab bag for when you need to leave quickly.

Build your own emergency grab bag.  Consumer NZ suggest the following items for an ideal emergency grab bag:

  • Backpack
  • Torch: Consumer NZ testing showed that radios and torches powered by disposable batteries were a better option than their wind-up counterparts
  • Radio
  • Spare batteries
  • Hygiene items: Anti-bacterial wetwipes/Tissues/toothbrush and paste/hand sanitiser/female hygiene products/etc.
  • Cash
  • Photo ID and important documents (Could be put on USB)
  • Walking shoes
  • Warm clothes and hat
  • Raincoat and emergency rain poncho
  • Water and drinkbottle
  • Water purification tablets ($13, Life Pharmacy)
  • First aid kit (e.g. Protec first aid kit handy pack) and prescription medication
  • Dust mask (e.g. Rivet Filter Mask Set 2 Piece,$6, the Warehouse)
  • Thick gloves (e.g.ardwell Work Gloves)
  • Snack food
  • Emergency food 3-day ration ($20, Survive-it)
  • Pocket Survival bag ($7, New Zealand Mountain Safety Council)
  • Duct tape
  • Rubbish/plastic bags

Surviving at home. In addition to a grab bag, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) recommends having the following basic supplies at home:

  • At least 3 days of water (9L for each person)
  • Long-lasting food that doesn’t need cooking, at least enough to sustain each member of the household for 72 hours. Also include food for babies and pets
  • Toilet paper and large plastic buckets to fashion an emergency toilet
  • Dust masks and work gloves

Further information:

Thanks to Consumer NZ and Radio New Zealand National for the content.

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