National Threat Alert Is Your Private Online
Emergency Preparedness And Survival Resource



DISCLAIMER: This Web Site Is Privately Owned And Not  Affiliated With Any Government Agency.

Soon after the formation of Department of Homeland Security, the Martin Agency of Richmond, Virginia provided pro bono work to create "", a readiness website. The site and materials were conceived as early as March 2002 but were launched in February of 2003, just before the launch of the Iraq War. One of the first announcements that garnered widespread public attention to this campaign was one by Tom Ridge in which he stated that in the case of a chemical attack, citizens should use duct tape and plastic sheeting to build a homemade bunker, or "sheltering in place" to protect themselves. As a result, the sales of duct tape skyrocketed and DHS received criticism that they were being too alarmist.

On March 12, 2002, the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS), a color-coded terrorism risk advisory scale, was created as a Presidential Directive to provide a "comprehensive and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to Federal, State, and local authorities and to the American people." Many procedures at government facilities are keyed off of the alert level; for example a facility may search all entering vehicles when the alert is above a certain level. Since January 2003, it has been administered in coordination with the DHS; it has also been the target of frequent jokes and ridicule on the part of the administration's detractors about its perceived ineffectiveness. After resigning, Tom Ridge stated that he didn't always agree with the threat level adjustments pushed by other government agencies.


Today's Alert Status

The Homeland Security Advisory System is a means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to federal, state, and local authorities and to the American people.

Terror Alert Chart

For individuals interested in actions they may take in response to the increased level of threat of terrorist attack: See the
Citizen Preparedness Guide or visit the
American Red Cross .

Government Resources

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Are You Ready To Survive Any Emergency?

A survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency. Survival kits, in a variety of sizes, contain supplies and tools to provide a person with basic shelter against the elements, help them keep warm, meet their health and first aid needs, provide food and water, signal to rescuers, and assist them in finding their way back to help. Supplies in a survival kit normally contain a knife (often a Swiss army knife or a multi-tool), matches, tinder, first aid kit, bandana, fish hooks, sewing kit, and an LED flashlight with batteries.

Civilians such as forestry workers, surveyors, or bush pilots, who work in remote locations or in regions with extreme climate conditions may also be equipped with survival kits. Disaster supplies are also kept on hand by those who live in areas prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. For the average citizen to practice disaster preparedness, some towns will have survival stores to keep survival supplies in stock.

General contents

Shelter or warmth

  • Reflective "aluminized" (Mylar coated) space blanket or survival blanket to retain body heat (and signal)

  • Lightweight poncho for protection against wind and rain

  • "Tube tent" or bivvy bag

  • Tarp with grommets or tie-tapes (best if nylon or polyester)

  • Large plastic trash bag as poncho or expedient shelter roof

  • Mosquito net to keep off biting insects

  • Wide-brimmed hat

  • Knitted or fleece "watch cap" to insulate area of greatest heat loss

  • Magnifying glass for fire-starting

  • Ferrocerium rod (AKA "Metal match," "Hot Spark," "Firesteel," "Magnesium bar") and fire striker for fire-starting

  • Waterproof matches

  • Matches in waterproof container (include striker -- facing away from matches, if not "strike anywhere" matches)or melt candle wax all over your matches beforehand.

  • Butane lighter (won't work under freezing - carry inside clothing)

  • Hexamine fuel tablets (Esbit) or "heat tablets" for fire-starting

  • Cotton balls or pads smeared with white petroleum for fire starting (can be carried in 35 mm container or heat-sealed inside large diameter plastic straw)

  • Dark-colored (black preferred) shoe polish for fire-starting (also gives off an odor that can repel animals and insects, and can be used for marking and camouflage)

Health and first aid

  • First aid kit with bandages, sterile pads and gauze, first aid tape, tweezers, surgical razor, disinfectant pads, oxytetracycline tablets (for diarrhea or infection) and aspirin. Also keep an extra pair of prescription eyeglasses or contacts. Any material in the kit that may be damaged or rendered ineffective by water should be wrapped or sealed in plastic.

  • Antibiotic cream (also fire-starting)

  • Insect repellent

  • Hand sanitizer (also antibiotic and fire-starting)

  • Salt to maintain ability to perspire

  • Soap

  • Toilet paper

  • Feminine hygiene products (also fire-starting)

  • Supply of personal prescription medications

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Epinephrine and antihistamines (example "Benadryl" diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions, primarily to insect stings

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Lip balm

  • Sunscreen (30 SPF or more is recommended) for when clothing cover is not available

  • Polarized sunglasses (Protects eyes from glare, especially at sea, in the far north and in the desert)

  • Suture kit

Food and water

  • At least three days' worth of water (1 US gallon (3.8 l; 0.83 imp gal) - approximately 8 pounds (3.6 kg)) per person per day: two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation). Commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, kept bottled in its original container and unopened. FEMA recommends replacing water at least once each year.

  • Commercial water filter

  • Metal container to boil water

  • Mess tin to boil water and cook food

  • Iodine or chlorine tablets for emergency water purification if boiling or filter not available.

  • Table salt for food and also can be used for brushing teeth.

  • Collapsible (empty) water bags or containers (Often unlubricated condoms are used in place of commercial water bags)

  • Canned food, Ready-to-eat meals (MRE), or high-energy foods such as chocolate or emergency food bars. Hiking meals, such as dehydrated food, can also be used, but are not ready to eat - they require rehydration (water), but most are prepared in the bag rather than needing a cooking vessel. Canned foods heated in a closed can may explode.

  • Fishing line and gear (fish hooks, lures, and split shot leads)

  • Snare wire

  • Gill Net (for emergency fishing)

  • Tea, gum, and hard candy (as a morale booster)

  • Water Purification Tablets


  • A supply of money in small denominations and coins in your kit helps for situations such as telephone calls (Where the lines still operate) or vendors selling various goods, both essential and non-essential. If living near national borders various currencies may be beneficial as well.

Signaling, navigation and reference

  • Whistle - Inexpensive and easy: blow into it three times, and rescuers will appear.

  • Signal mirror - Learn how to use it in advance.

  • Chem light/glow stick - Should come with a string. Tie it on and twirl the chem light in a circle; this signal is highly recognizable to aircraft.

  • Flare

- Three fires in a triangle is the international distress signal

Multipurpose tools or materials

  • Fixed-blade knife - sturdy in safe sheath

  • Multitool knife such as Swiss Army knife or multitool

  • Sharpening stone or tool

  • Folding saw or cable saw

  • Heavy-duty needle and thread for repairing clothing and equipment

  • Plastic bag(s) or trash bags

  • Heavy-duty aluminium foil for frying food and signaling

  • Brightly-colored bandanna or scarf for filtering water, bandage, sun protection, and signaling

  • Sturdy cord or "550" parachute cord for setting up a tarpaulin and snaring small animals

  • Firearms and ammunition for hunting and self-defense

  • Hatchet with sheath

Mini survival kits

"Mini survival kits" or "Altoids tin" survival kits are small kits that contain a few basic survival tools. These kits often include a small compass, waterproof matches, a fishing hook and fishing line, a large plastic garbage bag, a small vial of bleach, a small candle, a jigsaw blade, an Exacto knife blade, and a safety pin. Pre-packaged survival kits may also include instructions in survival techniques, including fire-starting or first aid methods. In addition, parachute cord can be wrapped around the tin. The parachute cord can be used for setting up an emergency shelter or snaring small animals. They are designed to fit within a container roughly the size of a mint tin.

Vehicle kits

Another level in some preparedness plans are Vehicle Kits. In some cases, supplies and equipment may be loaded into vehicle such as a van or truck with bicycle racks and an extra “reserve” gas tank. Some survivalists also carry a small (e.g., 250 cc) off-road-capable motorcycle in the van or truck.

Food supplies in the bug-out vehicle include hundreds of pounds of wheat, rice, and beans, and enough honey, powdered milk, canned goods, bottled fruit, vitamins, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, salt, pepper, spices, and oil for several months. In addition, the kits often contain high-calorie energy bars, a cooking kit, utensils, liquid soap, and towels. The water supplies may include bottled water, filtering kit, bottles, collapsible water containers, and chlorine bleach for water purification. Food preparation and washing equipment may include items such as a grain grinder, a bread mixer, a strainer, a manual can opener, a steam canner with canning jars and O-rings, cutlery, knives, an electric 12-volt cooler icebox, kerosene lamps and heaters, kerosene or propane stoves, extra fuel, a clothes wringer, a foot-operated treadle sewing machine, and an electric hot plate.

The medical supplies may include a blood pressure gauge, stethoscope, scissors, tweezers, forceps, disposable scalpels, two thermometers (oral and rectal), inflatable splints, bandages, sutures, adhesive tape, gauze, burn ointment, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, ipecac syrup, sterile water, cotton rags, soap, and cotton swabs. The transportation items may include bicycles with off-road tires, emergency tools and spare auto parts (e.g., fuses, fan belts, light bulbs, head light, tire pump, etc.), and an inflatable raft with paddles.

In addition, the kits may contain typical individual “survival kit” items, such as nylon tarps, extra clothes and coats, blankets, sleeping bags, matches (and/or other fire starting equipment), a compass and maps, rechargeable flashlights, toilet paper, soap, a pocket knife and bowie knife, a fishing kit, a portable camping stove, a power inverter, backpack, paper and pencil, a signaling mirror, flashlight, whistle, cable saw, bleach, insect repellent, magnifying glass, rope and nylon cord, pulleys, and a pistol and ammunition.

The communications equipment may include a multi-band receiver/scanner, a citizens band (CB) radio, portable “walkie-talkies” with rechargeable batteries, and a portable battery-powered television. The power supplies may include a diesel or gasoline generator with a one month fuel supply, an auto battery and charger, extension cord, flashlights, rechargeable batteries (with recharger), an electric multi meter, and a test light. Defense items include a revolver, semi-automatic pistol, rifle, shotgun, ammunition, mace or pepper spray, and a large knife such as a bowie knife.

Tools may include cutting tools such as saws, axes and hatchets; mechanical advantage aids such as a pry bar or wrecking bar, ropes, pulleys, or a 'come-a-long" hand-operated winch; construction tools such as pliers, chisels, a hammer, screwdrivers, a hand-operated twist drill, vise grip pliers, glue, nails, nuts, bolts, and screws; mechanical repair tools such as an arc welder, an oxy-acetylene torch, a propane torch with a spark lighter, a solder iron and flux, wrench set, a nut driver, a tap and die set, a socket set, and a fire extinguisher. As well, some survivalists bring barterable items such as fishing line, liquid soap, insect repellent, light bulbs, can openers, extra fuels, motor oil, and ammunition.

Natural disasters

The US government's Homeland Security website provides a list of in-home emergency kit items.[5] The list focuses on the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and materials to maintain body warmth. The recommended basic emergency kit items include:

  • Water, at least one gallon of water per person for each day for drinking & sanitation (should be rotated every 3 months)

  • Food, non-perishable food for at least three days which is not required to be cooked or refrigerated

  • Emergency Food Bars, preferably the products with 2,400 or 3,600 calories and contain no coconut or tropical oils to which many people may have an allergic reaction, in addition to non-perishable food which does not require cooking or refrigeration

  • Battery- and/or hand-powered radio with the Weather band

  • Flashlight (battery- or hand-powered)

  • Extra batteries for anything needing them

  • First aid kit

  • Copies of any medical prescriptions

  • Whistle to signal

  • Dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

  • Wrench or pliers to turn off water valves

  • Can opener for canned food

  • Local maps

  • Spare Keys for Household & Motor Vehicle

  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes & lightweight raingear, hoods are recommended

  • Contact & Meeting Place Information for your household


Below is list of commonly recommended items for an emergency earthquake kit:

  • Food and water to last at least three to four days

  • Water purification tablets/portable water filter

  • Heavy-duty gloves

  • A first aid kit

  • A minimum of $100 in cash, at least half of which should be in small denominations

  • Family photos and descriptions (to aid emergency personnel in finding missing people)

  • Copies of personal identification and important papers such as insurance documents, driver's license, etc.

  • A flashlight and radio (battery-, solar-, and/or hand-powered)

  • Extra batteries

  • Goggles and dust mask

  • A personal commode with sanitary bags


For hurricanes, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that the 'disaster bag' include:

  • a flashlight with spare batteries and

  • a battery operated portable radio (and spare batteries);

  • a battery operated NOAA weather radio (and spare batteries);

  • a "Self Powered Radio" and a "Self Powered Flashlight". One, "Eton" model has the Weather Band and it is "self powered". Some of these will keep your cell phone charged

  • First aid kit and manual;

  • prescription medicines (be sure to refill them once they expire);

  • cash and a credit card;

  • a cell phone with a fully charged spare battery;

  • spare keys;

  • high energy non-perishable food;

  • one warm blanket or sleeping bag per person;

  • special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members;

  • change of clothing.


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