Hand Tool Emergency KitBrian Neville
The hand tools you’ll need in a survival situation may be different than the hand tools you need to maintain your house. Everybody needs a hammer to hang pictures but most people don’t need an ax…that is, until they need one really bad.
Here are the top ten hand tools you need for survival situations:
Ax – Axes have gotten new respect since emergency preparedness organizations started encouraging homeowners in flood zones to keep an ax in their attic. Evidently, the need for a non-traditional way out the house happens more than you think it would. Axes also are needed to cut wood for fuel or building materials and can be used to cut other things like rope. A dull ax doesn’t do you any good so keep a sharpening stone with it and be sure you learn how to sharpen knives and axes now.
Shovel – Yes, even urbanites need a shovel. The first time you need it for sanitary reasons you’ll understand. Besides digging holes, you’ll need it to garden, hide valuables and dig trenches. In natural disaster situations, it’s not uncommon to have to dig through mud and debris inside dwellings.
Hammer – Hammers come in all shapes and sizes but you’ll want a 16-ounce claw hammer with a steel shaft.
Handsaw – Axes tend to splinter the wood as you chop. If you need to build a permanent or semi-permanent shelter, you’ll need more than an ax. A handsaw will allow you to shape wood – quickly – and to the requirements that fit the job.
Channel-lock wrench – This is an adjustable wrench that comes in especially handy for shutting off gas and other utilities in an emergency. Because they’re adjustable, they’re also useful for repairing almost everything.
Multi-head screwdriver – Screws hold together most of the man made objects around us. If you have a basic screwdriver with interchangeable Phillips and flat heads you’ll be ahead of the game. However, the Enderes XV-1 multi-bit screwdriver is a favorite because it has 15 heads that snap into the handle. And it’s virtually indestructible.
Hex key or Allan wrench – If it doesn’t have a flat or Phillips head, it’s likely got a hexagonal head. Sets of hex keys are small and portable so go ahead and stash a set of 24 sizes. You don’t need them in a big plastic box, go for a fold up set like this one from Tekton.
Locking pliers – Locking pliers have adjustable jaws that lock in place via a screw on the handle. One of the best emergency-situation uses we’ve heard of for locking pliers are holding open self-locking doors in public buildings, some apartment buildings and houses. Locking pliers can also be used for forcible entries and shutting off utilities.
Knife and whetstone – Actually you made need a couple of types of knives. Be sure to have a sturdy stainless steel knife with a serrated blade. Emergency workers carry serrated blades because they quickly saw through most anything. You may need a more delicate knife for fileting fish, skinning animals and food preparation. Don’t use this one to saw through anything man made. As with an ax, now is the time to learn to sharpen your own blades. It takes a little practice and you don’t want to learn on the fly (or when the local MedCheck is defunct!) Just kidding. Not really.
Leather work gloves – Blisters happen fast and can be debilitating, especially if they get infected. Leather gloves protect your hands from injuries that could turn ugly.
If your emergency location is in your current home it’s easy to ensure you’ve got these tools handy. If you’re planning on going mobile or have a secondary emergency location, you’ll either need a second set or to plan for the space they’ll take up in your vehicle in an emergency.