Affordable items that could save your life in an emergency situation

Fortunately, most of us will never undergo a life-threatening experience, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.

You could put together a practical and inexpensive emergency kit for your car boot or hall closet from this list – and many items are great for anyone who camps, hikes, climbs, or otherwise enjoys the outdoors.

Some you may already have on hand, and others you’ll want to order ASAP.

Emergency car escape tool
These tools are purposefully designed to cut a jammed seat belt then shatter the car window for a quick escape. Their compact and lightweight design allows you to pop it on a keychain so it’s always handy in the event of an emergency. Make sure to find one with spring-loaded stainless-steel spikes that emerge only when needed so that it’s safe to carry around or pop in a pocket.

Personal alarm keychain
Small, easy to conceal, and can cause a racket when triggered. Personal alarms can emit a blaring noise that registers up to 130dB, and they only turn off when the user pushes a certain button.

The sudden noise will cause panic or confusion to an attacker, hopefully giving you enough opportunity to get away or alert someone that you need help. If the user is lost and needs to be found, a personal alarm can be very effective at helping others pinpoint your location.

Some even have an added flashlight for extra security.

Fire extinguishing aerosol spray
The intuitive, easy to use design of these makes them a must for the kitchen. We already know exactly how to use an aerosol spray, so our muscle memory can jump into action when there’s a small fire. Who has time to process the three-step method of fire control when their bacon has just gone out of control on the stove?

Some give you up to 32 seconds of firefighting ability, and a spray is a lot easier to operate than a traditional fire extinguisher. The sprays can be used on grease, electrical, fabric, paper and wood fires.

Paracord bracelet
Also known as survival bracelets, 550 cord bracelets or parachute cord bands. These bracelets are considered a survival tool and are often worn by survivalists, hikers, climbers, campers, fishermen and anyone who regularly enjoys the great outdoors.

The compact, wearable 3-in-1 survival tool boasts a flint fire starter, a whistle, and a compass, plus the paracord rope can be used to tie items or set a trap.

Portable door lock
A portable door lock can add extra security in seconds, without needing a single tool. If you’re travelling and unsure of how good the lock is on the hotel room door, just hook up the portable door lock to completely lock the door handle and sleep in peace. It’s compatible with most types of door and is also handy if you want to keep curious toddlers in!

LED beacon road flare
This emergency road flare provides 360 degrees, super-bright lighting for any trouble spots and replaces dangerous strike flares. Most options can last up to 140 hours on flashing mode or around 40 hours on steady mode. They are waterproof, skid-proof, crush-resistant up to 20,000lbs and have a magnetic base that instantly sticks to your car.

They’re perfect if you’re stuck on the side of the road, but also useful for camping, boating, and emergency vehicles.

Folding shovel
A folding shovel is a useful and multi-functional addition to any camping pack or survival kit. Many of them are made in the style of military folding shovels, which function as a shovel, hoe, pickaxe and ice awl. Some include a serrated edge to cut through underbrush or trim small branches, look around to find the best one for you. Many are so compact that they’re a perfect fit for anywhere, whether it’s the car boot, a drawer at home, or below deck on a boat.

Emergency sleeping bag
Emergency blankets or sleeping bags can keep you protected from rain, wind, heat and cold. Most are made from puncture-resistant polyethylene material and include an attached survival whistle.

Being waterproof, reusable and portable makes them perfect for camping trips and sporting events in addition to emergencies.

Personal water filter straw
If you run out of water while hiking, camping or backpacking, a personal water filter could come to your rescue. Given that the human body is more than 60 per cent water, it’s critical to find a source as soon as possible if you’re stranded. As you sip from a pond or other water source, the filter removes a multitude of potentially harmful bacteria without using chemicals, making the water safe to drink.

Most claim to remove 99.99 per cent of waterborne bacteria, parasites and microplastics and last long enough to filter 3700L of water.

A portable power bank
In this day and age, when seemingly everyone relies on their mobile devices for driving directions, information, and emergency contacts, a dead battery can leave you lost and stranded.

A portable power bank can be a great back-up option when you’re going to be away from an outlet for a while. Some even feature foldable solar panels to help keep your devices powered even in the great outdoors.

It’s handy to have during road trips, major storms, or those times you forget to power up before you leave home.

Potato chips
This one is not like the others, but some junk food – such as oily potato chips – can serve as makeshift kindling if you find yourself in a situation where you need to start a signal fire. Just a single bag can help get the flames roaring but you’ll have to decide if ingesting the calories is more important than starting a fire.

Do you have an emergency kit? Where do you keep it? What else would you add to the list?

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Written by Ellie Baxter


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