The prepared purse emergency kit list

The Bare Minimum Emergency Kit List

So picture this: you’re out at a club. Or the grocery store. Or maybe you’re lunching with the ladies. In any case, you’re away from home, with nothing but the clothes on your bod and this season’s “It” bag over your shoulder.

And then it happens: earthquake! Or tornado! Or maybe terrorist attack!

Whatever the incident, it’s decidedly Not Good, and suddenly you find yourself in a survival situation…but your carefully procured emergency kit is back at your house or hotel, doing you not a damn bit of good!

While this may sound a bit extreme, it’s certainly not far-fetched. And being a woman who is both committed to traveling light (read: I don’t want to live my life with a 20-pound emergency kit perpetually strapped to my back) and keen to be ready for any situation, I’ve given some thought to this dilemma. Specifically:

What is the absolute minimum you should keep on your person to be ready for the unexpected?

The guys have a name for this: the EDC, for EveryDay Carry. And because guys’ clothing usually features a plethora of pockets (unlike OUR attire), the EDC typically lives within the confines of their attire. Even guys who don’t consider themselves “preppers” toss things like a pocket knife and a mini flashlight into their pockets before they head out the door for the day. It’s just what guys do.

Ladies, we need to start doing this, too! We need to carry our own version of the EDC! And because very few of us wear cargo pants on a daily basis, our EDC needs to live in our handbags. I like to think of it as The Prepared Purse! Or “TPP” to be cool like the EDC crowd. 🙂

At an absolute minimum, here’s what The Prepared Purse (TPP) should contain:

Swiss Army-type knife

emergency kit list swiss army knife multitool

I don’t care what brand you buy, but it has to feature multi-tool functionality. A knife blade is a given for any of these gadgets, but make sure it also has a set of scissors. The scissors on my Swiss Army knife get more use than the knife blade itself by a ratio of 10:1! Having a screwdriver head is also oddly useful. Additionally, I’m a huge fan of the tweezer accessory that lots of these knives feature.

You can get mini versions of these multi-tools, but to be really useful in a survival-type situation, you should consider getting a full-sized knife. It’s only a few inches longer, but remember Archimedes: “Give me a lever long enough…and I shall move the world.”

It goes without saying that this would have to be packed into your checked bag when you travel.

NON-EMERGENCY USE: Slice open the wrapper on a packet of Twinkies; snip off a dangling thread from your skirt; tweeze an errant eyebrow hair.

Cash, cash, cash

emergency kit list cash money

A natural disaster usually means power outages…which means no credit cards and no ATMs. Having cold, hard moolah means you can buy water bottles, hire someone to drive you home, etc. And remember, if all you have is a $20 bill…then that bottle of water is going to cost you $20. So when you put together your kitty, remember: small denominations only, please. Shoot for $100 total.

NON-EMERGENCY USE: That trendy new taco place only takes cash…and you just ordered a meal for four; you need to tip the shampoo girl at the salon, and you can’t add it to your credit card tally.

Meal replacement bar

emergency kit list meal replacement protein bar food

This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just get one of those protein bars that all the weight lifters are constantly scarfing…but try it out first, to make sure you can digest it with minimal discomfort (a lot of the brands feature sugar alcohols, which are notoriously disruptive to the GI tract). If you find yourself away from home and have to hoof it a ways to reunite with family, you’ll be mighty glad for the extra calories.

NON-EMERGENCY USE: Your flight is delayed on the tarmac for two hours and you still haven’t had lunch; your spouse’s blood sugar takes a nose dive and they’re getting cranky

Mini first aid kit

emergency kit list first aid medical rescue

You can throw together your own in a Ziploc sandwich bag, or you can buy a pre-made kit from a sporting goods store. Don’t bother getting one that lets you perform an appendectomy in the field. Just look for something with adhesive bandages, alcohol swabs, antibacterial ointment, and pain medication. Unless you have first aid training, the above-mentioned supplies are all you’re likely to use, anyway…and frankly, cuts and scrapes are the most likely injury you’ll encounter, thank gawd!

NON-EMERGENCY USE: You get a paper cut—again!—adding paper to the office photocopier; your new kicks have rubbed a nasty blister on your heel

Critical meds

emergency kit list medications prescriptions

According to the Mayo Clinic, 7 out of 10 Americans now takes at least one prescription medication. If you’re within this 70{5b94df0808d5051ae4460ba229ec68b809d99f898aebd4fa5019c7ba642362c2}, make sure you always have at least 3-days’-worth of your critical pills in your bag. There are snazzy little pill cases made just for the occasion, or you can go the cheap-and-easy route and put your meds in a plastic snack container or baggie. In a disaster scenario, the last thing you want to add to your list of worries is, say, an insulin emergency…or a sudden withdrawal from your antidepressant. 😮

And while we’re talking about pills…toss a few iodine tablets into your medical kit for good measure. On the off chance that you need to procure water as you make your way to safety, it’s not a bad idea to have a way to purify your libation if needed. Plus, iodine pills are teeny tiny—you’ll hardly notice they’re there!

NON-EMERGENCY USE: An unexpected overnighter at the in-laws; an all-nighter at the office working on a project deadline…with no time to go home before the big client presentation the following day

* * * * *

There are so many other candidate items I debated adding to this list, but in the end, the five items I chose won their spots due to a combination of portability and criticality. Plus, every item (with the notable exception of the iodine tablets) has potential usefulness on a day-to-day basis—not something I could say about an N95 particulate mask, for example.

And how about you? Are there any TPP/EDC items you always keep on hand? Drop me a line via the Contacts form!

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