Work survival kits
When talking about survival kits we often mention how there are different survival kits for different situations. In our Urban survival kits guide, we discussed supplementary survival kits which can be stashed in places of interest in case of emergencies. One such type of survival kits we mentioned there are work survival kits.
So, what is a “work survival kit”? These usually come in the form of a backpack or an over-the-shoulder bag that you can have stashed at your workplace. What’s the difference between a work survival kit and any other type, however? What do you need to include in such kits and are there any variations based on what you work?
Let’s go over all of that below.
What’s the purpose of a work survival kit?
Unlike stationary in-home survival kits, the purpose of work survival kits isn’t to get you through the entire crisis situation. And unlike wilderness survival kits, the goal here isn’t for you to survive in the wild.
Instead, the primary goal of a work survival kit is to help you get to your home or to another safe location. These kits are meant for “short-term” survival and for a quick getaway, but little more than that.
Another purpose of work survival kits is to help your co-workers and other people in your workplace. This is important for a couple of different reasons. A) because it’s the right thing to do, and B) because in most situations it’ll be best for everyone if you can work together.
But work survival kits are different from wilderness or home survival kits in another way too. Because we all work in different environments, our work survival kits are usually not the same. This means that we can’t really give you one list for a work survival kit that will work for everyone. There’s a huge difference between what a kindergarten teacher would need in a crisis and what a construction worker would. Same with office workers, farmers, service sector workers, drivers, and people who work from home.
So, we decided not to give you one big makeshift list of things you may or may not need in a work survival kit. Instead, we thought we’d break this article down into sections for the different job types out there. In these sections, we’ll briefly cover what you’d want from your work survival kit.
If you want a broader and more straightforward list of items and suggestions, check our Urban survival kit article.
Different types of work survival kits
Most people work in one of these 6 work environments. There are other, more ”obscure” work environments too but we can’t possibly cover all the thousands of job types in one text. If you don’t work in any of these environments, hopefully, one or more of them will at least be similar enough to yours to give you some guidance.
Additionally, even “similar” jobs can differ a lot from one another. For example, there’s a big difference between cubicle office spaces and a more modern open office spaces. Similarly, there’s a difference between service sector workers in malls and ones in big open areas.
With these differences in mind, let’s go over the main types of work environments and the best survival kits for them.
Office survival kits
When most people think about a “work survival kit” they imagine something that’d be suitable for an office job. And that’s not a bad association as many professions fall in this category.
So, what are the main characteristics of an office job that you should consider for your work survival kit?
- Office jobs usually take place in large office buildings that are often modern and with lots of safety precautions.
- Such office buildings usually include large numbers of employees from one or multiple companies.
- Office buildings are often in busy city areas with lots of traffic around.
So, with these common points in mind, if you work at an office job you’d need a work survival kit that:
- Is easy to access in your office.
- Can help you get out of the office building quickly and easily.
- Can help you get from your office building to your home or another safe area.
- Allows you to help your office co-workers if need be.
Fortunately, most offices offer plenty of places for a small survival backpack kit. Once you get your kit, what you’d want to find in it will include things such as:
- Cash for emergencies.
- A first aid kit.
- Charger, a power bank, and/or batteries for your electronics. An emergency radio can also come in handy.
- Flashlight, a swiss knife multi-tool, and paracords or rope.
- A compact water and food supply in case you get stuck somewhere for multiple hours or even days. If your office space is too far from your home you might want to pack extra food and water.
- A notebook and a pencil or a sharpie for notes and communication.
- Superglue, duct tape, and other useful tools.
What other items you decide to include in your office survival kit will depend on how you plan to get to your home or another safe place. If you plan on driving it’s smart to park your can at an easily accessible place that’s near the car park’s exit. If you usually commute to your work, it’s a good idea to have an alternative solution in case public transport isn’t an option. A simple bike somewhere in the office building’s car park can be a lifesaver in many situations.
Work from home survival kits
Working from home is a model that has been rising in popularity even before the Covid-19 pandemic. It does offer a lot of benefits most of the time but especially so in a time of crisis.
Naturally, if you’re working from home you won’t need a dedicated “work survival kit”. Instead, you can focus mostly on your stationary in-home survival family stash.
Still, you might want a smaller backpack survival kit at home in addition to your main stash too. The main reason for that will usually be having to go to your kids’ school to pick them up during an emergency. In that case, having a small backpack with some of the essentials mentioned above is a good idea.
Physical work survival kits
There are many physical work environments that are drastically different from office workplaces. Construction workers, miners, dock workers, and others have much different environments to contend with in a time of crisis. As such, the work survival kits of such workers should be much different and should be customized for their particular work environments.
Another key point about such physical work environments is that workers there usually won’t be able to stash their kits near them. Instead, physical workers will often have to travel greater distances to get to their work survival kits in the first place.
That’s why, it’s often smart for them to carry some items with them at all times and not just in their backpack kit. This includes compact but useful items such as:
- A first aid kit. In most physical workplaces, accidents are not uncommon even in standard circumstances. Having a small first aid kit on your belt can be a literal lifesaver sometimes.
- A paracord bracelet or two, a piece of rope, a swiss knife multi-tool, duct tape, and other such tools.
- A small water supply.
- A compact flashlight.
Many employers will have protocols for their physical work employees that include such items anyway. However, even if such protocols aren’t in place, it’s better to be prepared. Once you manage to get to your main work survival kit, things should get easier. The rest of your work survival kit should include items that will help you get to your home or to another safe location.
Service sector work survival kits
The service sector is one of the most common work sectors in the U.S. It’s also incredibly diverse as there are lots of different job positions that can be identified as “service sector jobs.”
The main difference between service sector jobs and office jobs is that the latter will have mostly co-workers running around in a time of crisis. On the other hand, at a service sector job, you’ll usually have mostly clients around you.
This is a key difference as dealing with a crisis at a service sector job will usually be much more chaotic. You won’t know most of the people around you and mass public panic will be much more likely.
With those factors in mind, the work survival kit of a service sector worker should include:
- Most of the items we listed for office workers’ survival kits.
- Additional personal safety or protection items such as a taser/stun gun, gloves, goggles, a hard hat, etc. These can be crucial if mass panic ensues.
- Communication items such as a whistle, a loudspeaker, flags, a colorful emergency jacket, etc. Most service sector jobs should include such items and using them should be a part of the worker’s job description. If not, however, having even just a whistle on you can help you control the chaos and panic around you. This can be crucial both for your own survival and for that of those around you.
Once you’re away from the immediate circumstances of your service sector job, things should be easier. The next step would be to get home or to another safe location. How you do that will depend on where exactly your job was and your work survival kit should reflect that. Things such as cash, a bike, or a well-parked car can all be crucial in a time of crisis.
Education and training work survival kits
Another type of work that has to do with large crowds are the education and training positions. School teachers are the obvious example here and it’s clear what makes their work environment different – lots and lots of kids.
This is a major difference because, as a teacher or a trainer, your pupils’ survival will usually be your responsibility. Fortunately, people on such jobs should have both survival and crisis training, as well as tools and kits at their disposal.
The main items here are:
- Communication items such as whistles, loudspeakers, flags, etc.
- Protective gear such as goggles, gloves, hardhats, etc.
- First aid kits.
- Water and emergency food supplies.
If your workplace doesn’t offer some or any of those, it’s smart to take care of them yourself. The first priority should be for the on-location crisis to be handled. Once everyone you’re responsible for is safe, then it’ll be time to take care of yourself. Making sure you have everything you need to get home or to safety should be next on the agenda.
On-the-road work survival kits
This section includes all job types from truck drivers to inner-city delivery people. The benefit of these job positions is that they are usually solitary and on the road. This means that all you’ll need is to find your way to safety.
The work survival kit here can be focused entirely on personal survival items such as the ones we’ve discussed in our Urban survival kits text. Most vehicles Include on-the-road emergency tools anyway so that should be taken care of.
The one major risk of large-scale and on-the-road emergencies is that major roads can get jammed very quickly. In those situations, there are usually two main things you can do:
- Save yourself by escaping the traffic jam either with your vehicle, on foot, or with a secondary vehicle such as a bike.
- Help control the chaos on the road by organizing the traffic. The items that can help here include loudspeakers, emergency lights or flags, a whistle, an emergency jacket, etc.
Work survival kits should be customized to your particular work environment. Making sure you’re safe at your workplace in a time of crisis is usually a two-step process:
- Getting out of the workplace itself.
- Getting to your home or another safe place.
Depending on the job you’ll either have to do this on your own or by working with those around you.