Although we hope you may never need it, it’s important to spend sometime to make your home emergency kit. In case of sudden disaster, such as floor, hurricane, or a long power outage strikes, your normal lifestyle could be turned upside down. It does not too long to come up with a plan to cope with emergency situations, and gathering essential supplies is actually a fairly easy thing to do (it becomes hard, though, once the crises hits!)

In general, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends being always ready for emergencies in the basic areas like food, water, sanitation, first aid supplies, clothing, tools, bedding, and some special items.


You should have 4-8 days supply on hand. So, best way to go is to estimate your needs at approx one gallon/per person a day, with half of the water being used for hygiene and another half for drinking. You should also keep water purification tablets ready.


Keep at least a 3 days supply of easy to prepare, non-perishable foods. Do not store salty foods to limit your thirst. Freeze dried foods such as granola bars, dried fruits, non-perishable high energy foods and beef jerky work well. Canned food items such as soups and meats, canned vegetables and fruits, and fruit juices are also good choices. You should also keep a good can opener to access these items. Also, some items like jelly and peanut butter, canned nuts, hard candy, and vitamins are great to have on hand, and can be very comforting during disasters. Of course, you should periodically check for supply’s expiration dates and remove everything that is past their expiry date.

As you stock your food items, you should take into account your family’s tastes and needs. Familiar foods work well. They give a feeling of security and lift morale in times of stress. Try to include all foods that your family will enjoy and are high in nutrition and calories. Foods that do not require water, refrigeration, cooking or special preparation are great.

Kitchen supplies to have on hand include: manual can opener, utensils for eating, aluminum foil, and disposable bowls and plates, household bleach, re-sealable plastic bags, garbage bags, and paper towels.

Red Cross advises, that all those with special diets will need particular attention, as will toddlers, babies, and the elderly. (Important baby supplies could include bottles, diapers and formula, baby food and diapers.) Canned dietetic foods can be helpful for elderly or ill people.

First Aid Kit

To prevent infections and treat cuts, have antibiotic cream or peroxide available. Also, you should include different gauze and sizes of bandages, and a medical tape for fastening. Other necessities include gloves, tweezers, scissors, burn ointment, pain relievers, and a first aid manual. Dust masks are a good idea as well, since you can protect yourself from debris or dust in air. You should also keep moistened towlettes as they make it easy for you to stay clean.


You should keep ready at least 7 days of essential medicines that your family needs, along with necessary backup such as contact lenses, eye glasses, or hearing aids with extra batteries.

* Sanitation / Bedding/ Clothing-Basics to have on hand include: paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, femininie supplies and other personal hygiene items which you regularly need.

Also anticipate your clothing and bedding needs as per your local climate. It is important to have the following for each person: sleeping bags or blankets, extra clothing, sturdy shoes and a hat. Insect repellants, rain gear, and sun screen is also helpful.

Tools and Equipment

It is a great idea to keep a hand crank or battery powered radio in your survival kit. There should also be a NOAA Weather Radio in your kit. Of course, you need to keep an extra supply of batteries. Actually, it’s best to have a model that works both with solar power supply and battery. You can also use some models to charge your cell phones.

Extra batteries and flashlights are important for your supply kit. Lights are not only comforting but also vital for your safety. Avoid open flames or candles which can be disastrous if flammable leaks are there on your property. A pliers or a wrench is also helpful, since you might have to turn off your utilities. Duct tape is also useful in daily life and you should keep one in your emergency kit as well. Also keep a roll of plastic sheeting that can be used to construct a temporary shelter or to seal window openings.

Keep ample supply of matches in a water-proof container, especially if you have a wood stove or a fireplace that you can operate safely. Make sure you have adequate supply of firewood as well.

Specialty Items

Keep copies of personal documents (medical information, medication lists, birth certificates, deed or lease to home, insurance policies), photocopies of credit cards and identification, investment account details, passports, family photos, and contact information for relavites, friends, emergency numbers. Keep all this information in a portable, water proof container.

You may also need some of the following miscellaneous items:

  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Cell phone chargers. If possible have a solar power source.
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Extra cash
  • Entertainment items such as games, books, puzzles, pen and paper
  • Pet needs -food, extra water and medicine
  • Map of your area
  • Camera so you can document damage to your property.
  • Full tank of gas in your vehicle

Red Cross

Tel: 1-866-GET-INFO will also access the American Red Cross where you can get Red Cross Ready checklists. They are very helpful and are completely free.

FEMA- The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also offers a helpful list on its website, called Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Kit.

Local communities and individual states also have their own websites on this topic, with specifics on local climate, needs and challenges.

Whether you’ve experienced serious emergencies in the past or have been fortunate enough to avoid these types of situations, it’s important to be prepared such eventualities in the future. Sometimes these situations can be very stressful and can even change people’s lives, long after the event. It is absolutely worth taking an hour or two when you’re free to put together an emergency supply kit.