Nifty gift ideas to jump-start emergency preparedness in friends and family.
Challenge #1: You have friends and family who procrastinate about getting prepared for emergencies.
Solution: Use holiday gifts to get them started — gifts that everyone likes.
Challenge #2: You want to show employees your appreciation – but don’t want to waste money on gifts they might not like.
Solution: Give employees “starter items” for their at-home or at-work survival kits – meaningful and useful for you and them!
Here are the TOP TEN gift ideas for 2016 (most popular first!)
General purchase guideline: Get full-sized items, and the best quality you can afford. When you need this stuff, you want it to work.
1-Emergency radio – By far the most popular and most useful gift. A good emergency radio gets AM/FM and NOAA and has multiple sources of power (solar, battery, hand-crank) so it will work no matter what. The Kaito is a solid, mid-price example, with an oversized solar panel (oversized compared to others). Our own Kaito is black, but I like this yellow because it would show up better in the dark.
2-Emergency lighting — Ever have a power outage? Ever lose a contact lens? Ever need to read the model number off the back of a computer? If so, you will understand why having a flashlight in every room is smart and convenient. In an emergency, rechargeables won’t be rechargeable very long, so here’s a great flashlight that operates off regular batteries. And it is BRIGHT. (Any light with less than 300 lumens really isn’t worth it.)
3-Water bottles with filter —These days people expect to see you carrying a water bottle. Might as well have one that looks serves a dual purpose of hydrating your body AND filtering out germs. LifeStraw is the international standard in water filtration; it offers Stage-1 and Stage-2 bottles, with the second having more filtration levels.
4-Multi-purpose tool – My favorite on the list! I’ve always loved tools of all sorts, and this one fits the bill for quality and usefulness. When it comes to multi-purpose tools, get a good one! Cheap tools actually bend and break – I’ve had that happen!
5-Swiss Army Knife — The classic! There are many models. This version is made for “outdoor adventures” but, of course, works indoors just as well. Lifetime guarantee to get you through any emergency.
6-Duct tape — Another favorite, but this time, packaged in useful, flat packs instead of the traditional very heavy and very bulky roll. Perfect for stuffing into a survival kit, into the glove compartment of the car or a drawer at work.
RediTape Pocket Duct Tape 10-Pack | 1.88 inches x 5 yards per Flat Pack (10-Pack, Silver)
7-Paracord — Once again, a favorite of mine. A length of cord can be used for so many things – to tie things together, hang them, tie them down. I would love a woven paracord bracelet – so good looking – but they’re all too big for my wrist! So, here’s paracord that would work for anyone.
8-First Aid Kit — This item is one that we felt obliged to include on the list, since every emergency resource (Red Cross, FEMA, etc.) recommends one. However, any first aid kit needs to be augmented – typically with larger bandages, more tape, anti-bacterial creams or dressings, etc. Naturally, your own knowledge of first aid will guide you. In any case, this one is a good starter item, and its soft case will allow you to add. Certainly better to have even a minimal first aid kit than none at all!
9-Matches and/or fire igniter (also has a whistle and (tiny) compass) —Whether to build a fire will depend on where you find yourself in an emergency. But if you want one, or need one for life-saving heat, this simple little magnesium lighter will work. You’ll want to practice before the emergency hits! (Turn practice into a holiday family fun activity!)
Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle
10-Space blanket — There’s no better buy than a space blanket! And nothing easier to use when you need it for warmth, or – turning it the other way out — to reflect the heat or light. But don’t be misled: This is very thin mylar, and tears easily. But you can use it to stuff INSIDE your coat or boots for extra warmth, to put UNDER your sleeping bag for protection from the damp, to put BEHIND your fire to reflect the heat. So have several in your kit.
Three Bonus Gift Ideas
Now, three more popular items that don’t make the general Top Ten list but are right up there for some people, depending on where they live and what emergencies they might expect.
1-Rain poncho —If you’ve been caught in the rain for any length of time – and who hasn’t? – you know the value of even a light-weight poncho. I selected this particular model not because it comes in different colors, but because it has a drawstring. Tie it down over the bill of a baseball cap for the best visibility in the rain. (Note this has 12 ponchos in the pack.)
4Happi Rain Poncho with Drawstring Hood 12 Pieces. Great Premium Set for Emergency Kit. Thicker & Durable – 6 Assorted Colours &x2022;2 Clear •2 Red •2 Blue •2 Green •2 Yellow •2 Purple – One Size Fits All
2-Work gloves — You don’t know what you’ll be faced with after a storm or earthquake. Having heavy shoes and gloves will be important. Shoes you have to buy for yourself, but these are good all-purpose work gloves and because of the Velcro at the wrists, will likely fit better than others.
3-Headlamp –You can’t hold a flashlight in your teeth for very long! Or, for that matter, hold a flashlight at all if your arms are full of emergency supplies or a small wiggling child or pet. If you need to work or navigate down a path in dim light, a headlamp is essential. We own several. The lights have been good, but the straps have been TOO flimsy. Hence, this recommendation.
Enjoy your shopping!
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
P.S. We’re in the midst of another battery comparison test. Be sure you’re on the list to get all our Advisories, including the results of that test.