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In 2021, there were more than 430 events related to natural disasters recorded by the Emergency Event Database. Many of these disasters were weather-related, including tropical cyclones and tornados, and combined overall damages for the year totaled $145 billion. This figure makes 2021 the third costliest year for natural disasters in history.

Even though weather-related disasters and other natural hazards tend to be out of our control, there are various precautions you can put in place to ensure you and your family are as safe as you can be when a disaster strikes. Most of these preparations include putting together a range of tools in a bag to help you survive if you lose shelter or access to food and water. Fortunately, you likely already have most of these instruments in your home.

Item #1: Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishable foods like canned meats, vegetables, peanut butter, and canned tuna are not only quick meals for when you can’t be bothered to cook, but they also have several benefits and uses in emergency survival kits. Because the canning process blocks oxygen and kills harmful microorganisms, canned food can stay fresh for years and sometimes indefinitely. Next time you’re looking through your cupboards for something to eat, see if you have a few non-perishable canned goods that you’re willing to put aside in an emergency bag for safekeeping.

Item #2: Secondary mobile phones

It’s always a good idea to keep a secondary mobile phone in your emergency kit in case your primary phone gets damaged during an event like a hurricane or flood, and you need to contact your loved ones. Most people keep their old phones in a drawer after they buy a new one, so you should see if you still have yours and if it’s in good enough working condition to store away for emergency use.

According to ExpressVPN’s article on building a survival bag , secondary mobile phones are one of many tech items you should keep in case of emergencies. The other items include data transfer and charging USB cables and flash drives with important documents like passports and birth certificates. These are all things people have lying around their homes, and they may not even be aware of them.

Item #3: Lighters

Depending on the disaster, you may need to build a fire to keep you warm or boil water to purify it before drinking. While you can attempt old-school methods like the bow drill (which, according to Instructables’ article on how to start a fire , is done using friction), these methods can be your last resort. Why? Because most people have some form of fire starter in their homes. These can be matches, barbecue lighters, or BIC/butane lighters.

Emergency survival kits have many advantages, and everyone should have one, but that doesn’t mean you need to go to stores like Go Outdoors or Cotswold Outdoor and buy everything you see. Most of the tools and instruments you need in an emergency bag are probably already sitting around your home, including canned foods, old cell phones, and lighters.

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