Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 5, 2013

Tricking out your disaster kit – buying emergency “gee-gaws”

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on August 5, 2013

Thanks to longtime friend of this site Claire Rubin and her “Recovery Diva” blog (I have to say I’m jealous she gets to refer to herself as “the Diva”) for pointing out this Wall Street Journal article with suggestions for “Stylish Yet Practical Emergency Gear.”

As the Diva puts it, “Leave it to the Wall St. Journal to come up with a lot of expensive gear that will help you get through an emergency with less stress.”

I believe this is my favorite, and obviously the one tool no one should be without in an emergency:

3. Kem Playing Cards

Power outages call for old-school gaming. Kem playing cards are made of cellulose acetate (plastic), hence, they are waterproof and beer-proof. Casino pros, take note: The company asserts that the tear-resistant cards have the “classic snap and feel of paper.” The decks are sold in pairs, and include a hard-plastic carrying box. $30 for a set, either poker- or bridge-size, kem.com

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Comment by Ben

August 5, 2013 @ 8:27 am

Well, this is just my opinion, but playing cards are an important part of my disaster kit, as well as my survival kit, my camping kit, my travel kit, my someone-make-the-kids-quiet-down kit, and crucially my wife’s-inlaws-are-visiting kit (We don’t negotiate with terrorists. We play cards with them.).

That said, $30 would keep me in playing cards for something like twenty years (beer and water nonwithstanding).

I grew up in Alaska, and went through quite a bit of survival training and backwoods camping there. I’ve found that cards are extremely useful for helping people who don’t handle waiting well, wait. Some folks are the type that have to be winning, and occasionally it’s better to let them win at cards than to let them attempt to win by walking the 75+ miles back to civilization.

But I digress – I am impressed that the Wall Street Journal managed to find a way to pack $1355 into 9 moderately useless pieces of gear (a PURSE? Really?), especially while not managing to throw in any tools (knife, anyone?) or food.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 5, 2013 @ 8:19 pm


Comment by Rubin, Claire

August 6, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Ben you have a great sense of humor. Love the in-laws part.

Arnold- sorry but there does not seem to be a male equivalent of Diva, so you will have to remain jealous.


Comment by Arnold Bogis

August 7, 2013 @ 1:26 am

Good points all, thanks.

The only thing I have to add (outside of resisting the urge to start labeling my posts as “Diva”) is my favorite piece of preparedness advice. In one of countless seminars/conferences about responding to a nuclear terrorist attack, an official confided that he includes a bottle of Scotch in his preparedness kit.

He figured that if a nuclear explosion actually happened in his vicinity, he could retire to his basement, drink the bottle, and when he woke up it would be safe to evacuate (due to the decay of radioactive fallout…).

So while I may have been too quick to dismiss the playing cards, I think I’ll take that $30 and put it toward a decent bottle of booze for my own personal kit…

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 7, 2013 @ 5:32 am


With our noting the 68th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb and yesterday also noted as the peak in the three months of the year with the sun’s highest angle though summer not coming to a close until 22nd September, while some may prefer having a bottle of scotch in their survival kit/bag, may I kindly suggest a seven star or maybe even a twelve star bottle of Metaxa for it is acknowledged by at least fellow Hellenes as “the smoothest amber spirit under the sun” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaxa

Given the unfortunate and continued failings of Greece and other european economies along with the evident failing(s) of America led by such self-serving and partisan mannerisms led by this Chicago city street slicker and his “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington Charade, an America once the prominent country so many who were oppressed looked to as a – beacon of hope – and now even they see an ever burdening government and hunger on ‘Main Street USA” with food banks unable to keep their shelves stocked and our Constitution tattered at its edges and a spiraling deficit now $6.1 trillion more than in ’08 and scandal after scandal depicting the lawlessness being permitted by those from the AG’s office to State and from the WH down through the EPA, and other….maybe having two bottles stashed away in the survival kit is best!

God Bless our beloved Republic! We are in much peril!

Christopher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 7, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

Did you know the Sun’s magnetic core about to flip?

Comment by Val

November 5, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

Just from reading the comments I can tell I really gotta go read this article! Haha. I’ve been working on my disaster survival kit and have been wondering what type of games/amusement to put in it so this is a start.

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