Emergency Kit Essentials

2 min read
May 18, 2020

Keep these items handy in case severe weather strikes.

An emergency kit is a must-have household item. Whether or not you live in an area prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, it’s smart to keep a kit well-stocked and close by, just in case.

Why You Need an Emergency Kit

If severe weather strikes, your home may lose electricity, water, gas, and phone or internet connections — services that help you survive and communicate. An emergency kit acts as backup with supplies that keep you safe, nourished, and informed.

What You Need in Your Emergency Kit

Keep your kit stocked with enough supplies to last 3 to 14 days. These are the most important items to have on hand:

  • Bottled water: Stock a gallon of water per family member per day.
  • Food: Include nonperishable items that require little or no preparation and are high in protein and calories, such as legumes, canned fish, or dehydrated meat. Also pack a can opener.
  • Radio: A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, such as a NOAA weather radio, can help you receive essential news updates.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries: Test batteries periodically.
  • Important documents: Pack copies of personal ID cards, insurance cards, and immunization records.
  • Blanket: Look for a Mylar thermal blanket, which you can find at outdoor supply stores.
  • Pet supplies: Pack food, water, bowls, and cleanup items. If you don’t have a carrier for your pet, get one.
  • Personal care items: Include toothbrushes, toothpaste, moist towelettes, and hand sanitizer.
  • Medication and first-aid items: The American Red Cross recommends stashing one week’s worth of necessary medications. You’ll also want to keep basic first-aid items on hand.
  • Additional items: Consider storing a whistle, a cordless phone charger, and enough cash to pay for a few days’ worth of essentials.

Review and update items in your emergency kit annually or as your family’s needs change. Replace stored food and water every six months.

Storing Your Emergency Kit

Keep your emergency supplies in a protective, easy-to-transport case. Store your emergency kit in your home’s designated shelter area where you can grab it quickly.

Nothing in these materials is intended to be advice for a particular situation or individual. These materials are for general information purposes only.