- Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s imperative to have an at-home emergency kit ready should disaster strike.
- The American Red Cross has compiled emergency preparedness information for the general public, and experts have suggested creating a stationary and mobile emergency kit for your home.
- We studied the Red Cross’ list of supplies and found recommended items you should include in your very own at-home emergency kit.
- You can also check out our full guides to the best ready-made emergency kits and the best first aid kits you can buy.
- Due to fears of coronavirus, many of these products are quickly selling out or appearing at prices well above market retail. We’re doing our best to keep this guide updated with in-stock purchase links.
When an emergency strikes, it’s almost always unexpected, whether it’s an earthquake, hurricane, a family member falling ill, losing power for multiple days, or something else. We don’t always immediately know what to do, but it’s wise to have the supplies readily available should you ever find yourself in the midst of an urgent situation.
Creating a personalized at-home emergency kit isn’t difficult if you know what to put it in. All you need to do is grab a large tub (like this one or this one) and fill it with basic necessities like a first aid kit, water, flashlight, and any medical supplies that are specific to your needs, or your family and pet’s needs. You could even create multiple bins based on the supplies inside (e.g., food bin, medical bin, hardware bin).
The American Red Cross suggests creating two kits: one that’s meant for use at home if you’re required to stay put, and an emergency kit that’s on-the-go ready should you need to mobilize.
How you choose to set up your at-home emergency kit is up to you, but we’ve rounded up a list of basic items you might want to include, based on the American Red Cross’ emergency preparedness website.
Here are 15 items to include in your at-home emergency kit:
A hand-crank/solar-powered NOAA radio and charging device
This multi-use radio, flashlight, and SOS alarm is a must-have emergency kit item. No matter the situation, this radio will work. It can be charged four different ways: solar, hand crank, AAA batteries (3), and 2,000mAh power bank. Not only do you have access to AM/FM radio, but you have access to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) emergency broadcasts. On top of that, the RunningSnail radio has a USB port for device charging.
A battery-free flashlight
No batteries are needed with this three-LED bulb flashlight that’s powered by solar energy and hand-crank technology. One minute of cranking will get you 10 minutes of light, so you’ll need to crank for six minutes for a full hour of power. Additionally, the VADIV flashlight has a built-in carabiner clip, so you can attach it to the outside of a backpack for easy access and solar charging.
A set of weather-resistant blankets
These Mylar thermal blankets are designed to retain to up 90% of body heat and are waterproof, windproof, and moisture-proof. They can also be converted into emergency shelter tents if need be. Swiss Safe emergency blankets are also extremely lightweight, so they’re perfect for your mobile emergency kit.
A first aid kit
This first aid kit comes in a compact carrying bag with clear plastic pockets that will leave everything visible for quick and easy access. Supplies include several types of bandages, tapes, sponges, pads, sterilization wipes, gloves, and medical tools. You’ll be set with all of your basic medical needs in this compact kit. You can also check out our full guide to the best first aid kits.
A portable water filter
If you run out of clean water or find yourself without it, LifeStraws uses a microfiltration membrane to remove 99.9% of waterborne bacteria, parasites, and microplastics (as small as 1 micron). With proper use and maintenance, a LifeStraw can filter through 1,000 gallons of water.
A multi-tool army knife
This stainless steel army knife can be used to serve 33 different functions, including but not limited to, scissors, bottle opener, blade, screwdriver, and pliers. This compact tool can easily be carried in a backpack or pocket if you’re on the go.
A bracelet designed to help if you’re lost
These Atomic Bear bracelets have several key features that will come in handy if you find yourself lost in an unfamiliar area. Not only does it have a small compass on the clasp, but it also has an emergency whistle to make your presence known, a built-in flint fire starter, and a small emergency knife. If you cut the bracelet itself, it will unravel into 12 feet of military-grade paracord.
A two-way radio
Various emergencies can knock out power and telephone lines making it hard to communicate with members of your party should you need to separate for any reason. These two-way walkie talkies utilize 16 pre-programmed frequencies to communicate with one another for up to a 3-mile range. Its batteries can last on standby for up to 96 hours and can be recharged with any USB-compatible device.
A supply of batteries
Energizer batteries are one of the longest-lasting alkaline batteries on the market. They have a shelf-life of 10 years and are leak-resistant for up to two years after being fully used. You can add these to your at-home survival kit and be confident that they’ll be ready should an emergency strike.
A roll of heavy-duty duct tape
This double-thick adhesive tape is heavy-duty enough to stick to rough and uneven surfaces, yet workable enough that it can be ripped by hand. Gorilla Tape is also weather-resistant and can withstand moisture, UV rays, and extreme temperatures.
A pack of waterproof matches
It’s always a good idea to carry waterproof matches with you in case you need to start a fire in a damp area. Each box contains 40 matches and they’re sold in a 10-pack for a total of 400 matches. Though they’re great for use in the rain or in humid conditions, some users have had trouble getting them to light if they’ve been submerged in water. Consider storing them in a waterproof container for extra peace of mind.
A package of N95 respirator masks
3M Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve
This respirator is designed to protect you from breathing in non-oil-based particles like fiberglass and sanding debris. A valve attached to the front of the mask makes for easy breathing, as well as heat and moisture reduction. A simple mask like this could help protect your respiratory system if you’re in a situation where you’re surrounded by significant debris.
Note: As of 3/3/2020, respirators and face masks have become hard to find online due to fears of coronavirus. We will update this article with purchase links when they are back in stock.
An emergency food kit
It’s always a good idea to keep non-perishables like canned food that doesn’t require cooking in your kit. The American Red Cross suggests storing a three-day supply for each member in your group.
This ready-to-go food option has a shelf-life of 30 years and is designed for emergency situations. The Mountain House 4-Day Emergency Food Supply Kit contains 28 servings (12 meals) of dried food that you just add water to. You can consume lasagna with beef sauce, noodles and chicken, breakfast skillets, and more directly out of the package in fewer than 10 minutes.
A manual can opener
To accompany your non-perishable foods, the Made in USA can opener can lock onto cans of all sizes with its skip-proof feed wheel made from carbon steel. It’s simple and doesn’t require electricity, so it’s ideal for emergency situations.
If you’re looking for something even more compact for on-the-go can opening, check out the P-38 Can Opener and P-51 Can Opener. They’re a bit more difficult to use, but they fit on a keyring and can be used as a cutting blade or even a screwdriver in a pinch.
You can also check out our full guide to the best can openers. All of the above products made an appearance.
A supply of clean drinking water
Although we previously recommended adding LifeStraws to your at-home survival kit, you should always be prepared with clean drinking water. Stock up on gallons of water or pre-packaged bottles like this in your at-home kit. The American Red Cross suggests storing a three-day supply for each member in your group. Don’t forget to recycle the bottles afterward, if you can.
Check out our other emergency preparedness guides
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In the best case scenario, you won’t ever need an emergency kit, but if a worst-case scenario arises, you’ll be glad you planned ahead and got one. A good emergency kit should contain rations with a multi-year shelf life, first aid materials, light sources, fire-starting tools, and other such essentials. These are the best emergency kits.The best roadside emergency car kits
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The world can be a germy place and as we interact with others, we share bacteria. Some bacteria are actually good for our body systems but other, viral strains like measles, flu, and colds can be dangerous. And, fungal infections like athlete’s foot, while not life-threatening, are pretty uncomfortable. To help combat against them, these are the best products available that do a great job of killing bacteria.