ShelterBox Kits Bound for Japan Show What You Should Pack for Emergencies

Shelterbox emergency supplies
A Shelterbox and the necessary emergency supplies.

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Sometimes emergency disaster relief comes in the form of a sealable plastic tub. ShelterBox is sending kits to Japan to help with relief efforts. The packed boxes are somewhat of a marvel when it comes to efficient packaging. They pack 100 lbs of equipment in just a 33 x 24 x 22-inch box. Take a look at what is included, and find out more about the conundrum of packing emergency kits for disasters.

A very cool company, ShelterBox, has created extraordinarily well-thought-out emergency kits. Kits are designed to suit certain environments and issues, but the kits going to Japan include:

• A custom-made shelter tent that fits up to 10 people, designed to withstand extreme temperatures and rain. It even has privacy partitions inside.
• Thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets.
• Water purification system that runs for six months.
• Industrial-grade steel mini stove that can use wood or any other fuel, for heating and cooking.
• Cooking utensils.
• Bowls, mugs, and other containers.
• Toolbox with hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters.
• A children pack with drawing books, crayons and pens, to keep the kids distracted after losing all their toys.
• The heavy duty box can be used to store anything, from food to water.

ShelterBox was there for Haiti, for New Zealand, for numerous disasters over the years, and now it's here to help Japan. These kits are really cool in how many items of high quality and necessity they can fit into a small box.

The decision of what to include in an emergency kit is actually really difficult -- what is most necessary for survival, what is necessary for sanity, what is essential and what just takes up space, and what about the quality of the items that are included?

As a San Francisco resident, emergency kits are something I think about at least once a year, and last year I picked apart a kit purchased for me from Costco and decided what worked and what didn't for me.

emergency kit SF image

It helped illustrate how tough it can be to know what to include. Of course, the difference between this kit and the ShelterBoxes being shipped to Japan is that the ShelterBoxes are for people who were never even able to salvage a kit from their closet before their houses crumbled. That's why these boxes are so much better than any small emergency bag since they take into account the fact that people don't have a shelter or a way to cook, let alone food, water, flashlights, and other smaller items.

So which is better to have -- a go-bag or a thorough emergency kit? Or should people living in areas prone to natural disasters have both just in case? How will the contents of your emergency kit change depending on what type of disaster you're most likely to endure, be it a quake, a flood, and so on. It might be overkill, and it might be useless depending on how bad the disaster and how swiftly it hits, as we're seeing in Japan -- a country far better prepared for just such events than almost any other country in the world.

Now is as good a time as any to think about what you have in your emergency kit -- and it's a great time to donate to help pack a box before the next disaster happens.