Proper survival tools and equipment can be the defining difference between a hard-fought struggle for survival, and surviving an emergency in relative comfort.
A good set of tools such as wrenches, sockets and screwdrivers is essential for repairing the things that invariably go wrong in a disaster.
Hand tools such as hammers, pliers, saws, pry bars, etc. are essential to have, and not just for emergencies. Household fuses are good to have in case some are blown due to power surges.
Here is our list of the most important tools and equipment for when SHTF.
The knife may be the most important survival tool known to man. Knives should be at the top of any tool list or any equipment list. A good chainsaw, an axe, and a splitting maul are essential for cutting downed limbs or even firewood in an emergency.
Be sure to have chainsaw gas, oil, chain sharpening files, and a spare chain on hand.
Have at least two shovels and two rolls of waterproof, plastic sheeting.
A variety of nails and screws would be good to have on hand, as these items may be very rare in a protracted crisis.
Fire extinguishers are a must, so have several readily available and make sure they are charged.
Tire plug kits are good to have in the garage, as well as a good quality hand pump for airing up that flat tire once you get it plugged.
A small compressor would be handy if you have a generator to power it when the electricity is off.
Another item that has a dozen uses around the house is the five gallon bucket. You should have several of these with sealable lids.
Large metal dish pans or tubs are nice for heating water to be used for washing dishes or even a few clothes if the disaster lasts several weeks.
It would also be nice to have some small rope or twine as it has a variety of uses, including clothes line.
Duct tape is a must-have in any emergency preparedness kit. You can use it for a temporary bandage, patch up a water hose or vacuum hose, patch a hole in vinyl siding, tape a broken window, repair a trash can, patch a hole in a tent, repair the Apollo 13 space module… you get the idea.
Stocking a number of propane bottles is a must, especially if you have both lanterns and camp stoves that use them.
Propane containers come in a variety of sizes, but the most common are the one lb., 20 lb., and the 30 lb. bottles. The one lb. is the handiest and easiest to use for lanterns and camp stoves. The 30 lb. tank may cost a bit more than the 20 lb. tank, but the rate of fuel consumption is notably more efficient and the tank will last a lot longer, saving you money in the long run.
Generators are a great source of electricity in a power outage but there are disadvantages.
- First, they can be expensive.
- Second, they are noisy. You may not want to advertise the fact that you have one.
- Third, they require periodic maintenance, or they will be worthless to you when you need them.
- Fourth, they usually require gasoline or diesel to run them, and they require large amounts of fuel to keep them going during an extended outage. This can be very bad news in an extended disaster and resultant fuel shortage.
Because of this, in an emergency they are usually only turned on for an hour or two in the morning, and again in the evening to keep the freezer and refrigerator cold.
It is possible to purchase generators which utilize other sources of fuel, i.e. propane, but they are prohibitively expensive.
Gasoline generators are the most common and most affordable, but diesel generators are more dependable, get better fuel “mileage”, and are usually better quality units.
If you decide to purchase an emergency generator, consult with an electrician to determine how big of a generator you actually need.
It is unwise to purchase a generator that is too large because of the increased rate of fuel consumption, a commodity which may be irreplaceable for some time.
Start your generator every month to keep the lines unclogged and the battery charged, if it is so equipped. Don’t store your generator with old gas in it and always keep a couple of spare spark plugs stored with it.
Never, ever run a generator in your house or even in your garage. The exhaust fumes will kill you before you realize it is happening. People die every winter because they believe it is okay to run a portable generator out in the garage or in the basement. Generators must be placed in well ventilated areas completely outside the home.
Read the owner’s manual carefully and follow all safety instructions.
You will need extension cords and power strips if you are going to use a portable generator. A generator transfer switch is required if you plan to hard wire your generator directly into your house power supply.
A transfer switch is a manual switch that isolates the generator, so that it can power your home but not accidentally send power out into the external power lines.
The transfer switch basically lets you select the source of electricity in your home: either the generator or the power company. It also lets you continue to use the electrical outlets in your home during a power outage instead of extension cords.
See an electrician about installing one of these for you. Do not attempt to install it yourself.
Like electricity, most of us take telephones, television and radio equipment for granted. We are completely dependent on these items for information about current events and for staying in touch with our friends and relatives.
Unfortunately, Extreme acts of terrorism or nuclear strikes could disrupt all three of these mediums of communication, but you can take steps ahead of time to deal with that scenario.
Hand-held radios, such as those manufactured by Motorola, could come in very handy for communicating with family members at short distances.
If the disruption is fairly localized, a good quality battery operated AM/FM radio will do wonders for morale as well as give you access to important information.
If larger areas are affected, a battery operated shortwave radio might be called for. Both of these radios should be kept in steel containers for protection against the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) associated with nuclear blasts.
#4 Miscellaneous survival tools
Aluminum foil has a dozen uses in a disaster, besides all the things it can be used for in the kitchen. Be sure to stock several rolls in your emergency preparedness kit.
It can be used for scrubbing pots, as a heat reflector behind your stove or other heat source to help heat your home, as a light reflector behind your lantern, as a cooking pan or pie plate, as a funnel, and as a deflector cap to keep the UFO aliens from finding you. (Just kidding on that last one 🙂 )
- Paper towels, paper plates, and plastic silverware will cut down on water usage for washing dishes. Water might be hared to get in a disaster.
- Stock zip lock bags of various sizes to keep opened packages of food from spoiling. Trash bags have dozens of uses in an emergency so have several boxes on hand.
- Warm clothes, lots of blankets and a good sleeping bag for everyone should always be in your home or weekend get-away spot.
- Fuel is critical in an emergency. Unleaded gasoline is worth its weight in gold in a power outage, because it is always one of the first shortages felt.
- Fuel for heating your home and for cooking is a major consideration in emergency preparedness planning, and having some firewood on hand is a good idea in case you have to cook outside.
- If you drink coffee, you might consider a camp-fire-type coffee pot, or some way to make coffee with no electricity. You will probably be a lot less cranky if you can start the day with your morning coffee, and it is a very simple contingency to plan for ahead of time.
There are hundreds of other survival tools and equipment that would be nice to have in a crisis, but we are only discussing the basics for now.
Once you have the basics covered it will be fun and interesting to assemble more equipment as you go.
Don’t forget to lay in enough pet supplies for your dog. Not only will he be good for morale, but he is one of the best security systems that money can buy. Lastly, a tool that you absolutely cannot afford to forget is a manual can opener.
Think we missed something? Send us a comment and we will add it to the list.