Health

Kits For Every Home And Office Emergency

Home and office emergencies range from minor annoyances (a ripped seam in your best outfit, an uncharged phone) to bigger problems (health issues, broken pipes). Regardless of the scale, the key is to be prepared. Here are our recommendations for emergency kits to help you through some common scenarios.

The Stain Removal Kit

Lifehacker reader MsCassLopez sent in the following as the basis for a stain removal kit, which we’ve supplemented with a few other useful items:

  • White vinegar
  • Bicarb soda
  • Nail polish remover
  • Detergent
  • Toothpaste
  • Lemon juice

These substances will remove a large number of common stains. Photo by Zach Klein

The Office Survival Kit

It sucks to spill coffee on yourself before a big meeting, or to suddenly split your trousers on your lunch break. Simple Productivity recommends you keep an office survival kit in your desk for emergencies. Items you can consider including:

  • A simple sewing kit (grab one at a supermarket or liberate one the next time you stay in a hotel)
  • Spray-on stain remover
  • Basic medical supplies (painkillers, cough drops)
  • Simple tools (pocket knife and screwdrivers)
  • Deodorant
  • Mints

Tool Kit

A tool kit is essential no matter what size your household is. We covered our basic recommendations in our guide to the perfect toolbox, so here’s the short version:

  • Screwdriver set
  • Hammer
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Stanley knife
  • Spirit level
  • Electric drill
  • Saw

Resist buying cheap tools; spending a little more will get better results and they’ll last longer.

First Aid Kit

Everyone needs a basic first aid kit in the house and office. You can purchase pre-packaged kits from a chemist, St John Ambulance or the Red Cross. If you want to assemble one yourself, the Victorian Government’s Better Health site recommends the following items:

  • Triangular bandages
  • Crepe (‘conforming’ or elastic) bandages
  • Non-adhesive dressings
  • Disposable gloves (medium and large)
  • Thermal blanket
  • Plastic bags
  • Adhesive tape
  • Resuscitation mask or face shield
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Notepad and pencil

Your first aid kit should also include any specific medications you take regularly.

The Sick Day Kit

Getting sick always sucks, but it’s even worse when you suddenly realise you have no supplies. As we’ve mentioned before, this is all about stocking up on appropriate medicines and foods. Obviously this forms a subset of your main first aid kit, but make sure you have these items:

  • Painkillers (aspirin and ibuprofen)
  • Cough medicine
  • Throat lozenges
  • Antiseptic
  • Antacids
  • Hot/cold pack

With these supplies, you should be able to pull through any minor illness on your own. Photo by Kelley Boone.

The Go Bag

As the name implies, a go bag is a single bag you can walk out of your house in case of an emergency. The bag should have survival supplies to keep you fed and watered for at least 72 hours. A few variations on the bag exist, including the Bug-out bag for hard-core survivalists, and the Go Bag aimed more at urban residents. Which type is better for you really depends on your survival skills, and location. Regardless, here’s what every go bag needs (and you can expand as needed):

  • Copies of important documents in waterproof container (photos IDs, insurance)
  • Extra set of house and car keys
  • Bottled water (or water purification tablets) and non-perishable food
  • At least $100 cash
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit (pocket-sized should do the trick)

The Tech Go Bag

While a basic survival-style go bag is great for the majority of people, those of us who rely on technology to get things done need a different set of tools. We’ve walked you through creating a tech go bag before, but here are a few things that most of us can keep in our bags at all times:

  • Chargers (laptop, phone, tablets — micro-USB is generally the most useful)
  • Surge protector
  • USB Cables (micro or mini depending on your device needs)
  • USB drives; we’d recommend two, one empty and one with an operating system and aps loaded. You can go anonymous with Tails, keep a portable Mac, load it up with portable Windows apps, or install a Linux distribution.