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Survival Kits: The Definitive Checklist

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A survival kit is a set of tools and supplies used to survive in case of an emergency. Survival kits are generally found on aircraft, spacecraft, and seagoing vessels. The primary function of a survival kit is to provide the kit’s user with a means to survive in any condition given by an emergency. This includes providing the kit’s user with food and water, first aid supplies, a means to keep warm, a signal to draw the attention of potential rescuers, and a means to navigate. Sometimes, survival kits are stocked and designed to specific climates or environments, depending on where the kit’s user may be needing to survive in. For example, a survival kit to be used in a cold climate might be stocked with more warmth-generating packs and thermal clothing, whereas a survival kit for a tropical climate might be stocked with anti-heatstroke medicines, and various bug repellents. 


Survival Kit Contents

The typical survival kit is stocked with elements that provide the kit’s user with shelter and warmth. Contents could include an aluminized jacket or blanket, to provide the kit’s user with a means to insulate their body heat and maintain warmth. In addition to maintaining heat, protection from rain is provided in the form of a poncho. Survival kits also contain a tarp or a tent for a quick shelter and light protection from the elements. For sources of heat, a survival kit will include a fire-starting material, usually magnesium fire starter or a solar-powered spark generator. In addition, waterproof matches and petroleum jelly is often included to assist with fire making. 

Emergency Preparedness

First aid materials are always included in a typical survival kit. Generally, first aid kits include bandages, adhesive tape, gauze tape, antibiotic cream, burn cream, aspirin, and sunscreen. These elements are included in case the kit’s user sustains any injuries from environment or survival conditions. Most survival kits have water and food. However, not all survival kits will have supplies of water. Some utilize water purification methods, such as water purification tablets, bleach, and condensation purification devices. The kits that do offer a supply of water do so usually in canteens, where the water will remain relatively safe. Food is usually non-perishable in canned or packaged form. Survival kits use high-energy foods to make the most out of the allotted space in the kit. Some kits also contain fishing kits and snare wire to trap wildlife for food. 

By Brian Greenlee

Works Cited

"Be Prepared for an Emergency. Be Red Cross Ready." Redcross. Redcross, n.d. Web. 26 March 2016.

"County Of Sonoma." Emergency Preparedness. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 March 2016.

Priddy, Allan. "Do-it-yourself Survival Kit." Do-it-yourself Survival Kit. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 March 2016.

"What Should You Put in Your Survival Kit? - The Outdoor Adventure." The Outdoor Adventure. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 March 2016.

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