Personal emergencies are those unpredictable and unsettling events that occur and typically only impact a small group of people. They come seemingly out of nowhere, and often you and possibly your family members, might be the only ones affected by the event.
Personal Emergencies are things such as:
- Car and motorcycle accidents involving you or family members
- Major traffic jams that stop traffic for hours
- Electric shock
- Rabid dog attacks
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- House fires
- Bike accidents
- Hiking accidents
- Boating accidents
- Street fights
- Accidental falls, cuts, and gun accidents
- Snake and spider bites
- Power outages
- Chemical Spills
- Heat Waves
- Radiation Leaks
- Petty Theft
- Home Invasions
- Small scale weather related events such as thunderstorms, ice storms, avalanches, or minor flooding.
Although none of the above personal emergencies and traumas can be predicted or absolutely avoided even with preparation, there are things that you can do to prevent the likelihood that you will be a victim. And there are also things you can do that will lessen the severity of damage to you and family members if you are a victim of an accident or crime.
EDC Kit (EveryDay Carry)
One of the most effective things you can do to prepare for everyday personal emergency events is to have an everyday carry kit or EDC kit. Your EDC kit or gear are items you put on your person every morning and take off just before bed. Having these items with you, on your person, at all times is what differentiates your EDC kit from other gear.
Why Carry EDC Gear?
EDC gear can assist you or someone else during a personal emergency or trauma. Rather than being stored all in one bag, EDC items are carried in different places on your body or clothing. You can use your wallet or purse, around your neck, wrist, ankle, waist, in your shoe, for EDC items. Take advantage of pants and shirt pockets, jacket pockets, and even hidden pockets to carry your items discreetly and comfortably.
An EDC kit comes in handy for little inconveniences, like opening stubborn packaging, patching a radiator hose or cracked washing machine hose, and repairing your glasses or your son’s bike tire. I guarantee that you will rely on some pieces of your EDC gear on an everyday basis.
An EDC kit is also helpful in accident scenarios because it means you can quickly do things such as cut jammed seatbelts or car seat straps, break glass, and even administer basic first aid. In a criminal situation, your EDC kit may mean that you can fend off a potential attacker or quickly signal for help from passersby.
In some cases, having an EDC kit or not having one, could actually be the difference between life and death for you or someone close to you. And the bonus is that in a more serious SHTF situation, your EDC kit can help you to filter water, signal for help, start a fire, communicate with family, defend yourself, open jammed or locked doors, or break into vending machines.
What’s in an EDC Kit?
I’ve included some of the very basic EDC items in the list below:
- Whistle (worn around your neck but tucked beneath your shirt for example)
- Paracord bracelet, anklet, or shoe laces
- Cell Phone
- An EDC knife (typically a sturdy folding knife)
- Key chain Multi-tools
- Extra cash and coins (for vending machines that still work)
- Mini First Aid Kit (FAK)
For more ideas on items that can be included in an EDC kit and more ideas about where to carry them discreetly, check out our EDC gear mega-list. If you are one of those folks that just don’t wear clothes with a lot of pockets, such as cargo pants, if you’re attending a formal event like a wedding, or if you just can’t carry only select EDC items and feel well prepared, you can consider one of the smaller, more discreet EDC bags on this list.
The key is that your EDC gear or kit should be comfortable enough to have it on your person at all times. It should be discreet enough to not raise eyebrows from co-workers, clerks, and others around you. Get creative when looking for or making your gear. It’s not very hard to create your own mini first aid kit from your larger kit. Use an Altoid tin or an old pill bottle to keep like items together. Look for smaller sized items such as mini-flashlights, a Swiss army knife, and mini-tools that will attach to your keychain.
Other Tips and Practices to Help You Survive
- Follow Safety Precautions and Procedures
Another way to prevent accidents and/or to help lessen the damage that you experience if you are involved in an accident is to know and follow safety precautions and procedures. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the majority of people who drown were those who were not wearing flotation devices at the time of the event.
Basically, do all the things your mother nags you about. Wear your seatbelt, don’t text and drive, don’t drive under the influence, take a defensive driving class, and a winter driving class, etc. If you’re a boat or motorcycle owner or you’re going hiking, make sure you follow safety guidelines. Wear a helmet, don’t go hiking if there’s a storm coming, etc.
The same is true for things crimes like rape, petty theft, home invasions, or muggings. It is most certainly not your fault if you are a victim of one of these crimes. The blame is clearly with the criminals. But there are things you can do to stay safe and lessen the chance you will be their target.
Know the proper way to protect yourself, your family, and your home for any type of weather related event that could potentially affect your area. If you are in a hurricane prone region, cut boards in advance. Take precautions when using candles or alternative forms of heat indoors. Make sure you and your family members know where the nearest storm shelters are located and what to do for each type of weather emergency.
- Avoid or Leave Dangerous Situations
Another way to avoid problem situations or lessen their impact for you is to stay alert and up to date on what is happening around you. One of the keys to staying out of trouble and dodging danger is having advanced or early warning. You need to have enough time to get out of an area before the real danger begins, avoid being a target of criminals, or to protect yourself and home during weather related events.
Sensing a dangerous situation is only possible when you stay oriented and free of distractions that can steal your focus, like your cell phone, kids fighting in the back seat, headphones, etc. If you are distracted, little things will happen all around you without you noticing. If you are paying attention, if you are able to be situationally aware, you will notice little warning signs before anything really bad hits.
You will notice that car with tinted windows parked across from the ATM as you approach, you will notice the temperature drop and the sky darken rapidly, you will hear the footsteps behind you, the argument escalating in the corner of the bar, or the neighbor’s dog start barking as a dark figure darts through their yard to yours. Noticing these little warning signs gives you precious moments to prepare for trouble or leave before it impacts you.
- Know Your Local Area
I cannot stress enough the importance of staying oriented and knowing where you are in relation to your home or to community resources (police, fire, etc.) at any given time. Do NOT rely solely on your GPS to get around. This is important because you just NEVER know for sure when something can go amiss. If you sense danger and need immediate assistance, you don’t want to waste precious time running in the wrong direction.
- Take Steps to Defend Yourself and Belongings
Make sure you include ways to defend yourself as part of your EDC gear. In my opinion, every adult and every child over the age of eight years old should take some type of self-defense training. In today’s society, no matter where you travel, you can be a potential target to be pickpocketed, raped, kidnapped, assaulted or mugged, or worse.
In a SHTF scenario, criminals are more aggressive and more people will be willing to go to desperate lengths to secure things they need to survive. Being able to defend yourself is critical to your safety. Your home is your castle. There has never been a truer statement. And it’s crucial to fortify your house like a castle.
But your house is useless if you can’t stay safe while you are out and about town. Your EDC gear should ideally include a gun. If that seems over the top for you, at least carry and be familiar with several non-lethal methods for thwarting an attacker, including pepper spray.
- Learn How to Become a Gray Man or Woman
The best way to avoid a fight is not to be in one, right? The same is true for dangerous situations. The best way to avoid a confrontation is to blend in, keep a low profile, and not draw attention to yourself or your family.
Accidents are generally non-discriminatory. Wearing a camouflage backpack won’t increase the odds that you’re in a car accident. But it is helpful to learn how to become a gray man or woman, so that you can lessen the chances that you will be selected as a target by criminals, by desperate people trying to feed themselves, or by government officials.
- Prepare for Worst Case Scenarios
Once you are in the habit of carrying your EDC kit or gear every single day, at all times, it’s time to start thinking about and preparing for trouble on a larger scale. There may come a time when your EDC gear just isn’t enough to get you through a longer term or wider scale disaster scenario.
One way to be a little more prepared is to gather items for a car bug out bag or car BOB. This is a bag that would contain additional gear and items, including items to make minor repairs to your vehicle. Your car BOB should be customized for your situation and family size.
It’s also good practice to have a Get Home Bag or GHB. A get home bag is a slightly larger bag, still discreet and plain, that you use to carry additional items. You keep your GHB within easy reach at all times. Hang it on a hook in your office or set it on the floor under your desk. There are many different kinds of bags to choose from for your GHB.
So, take some time this week to prepare your EDC kit. Get in the habit of putting on your EDC gear each and every morning, no matter what is planned for your day. It will make those little inconveniences less inconvenient. And the next time you experience a personal emergency or trauma like the ones listed above, your EDC gear might just save your life or the life of someone else.