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- 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 on Amazon.
- You can also check out our full guides to the best ready-made emergency kits and the best first aid kits you can buy.
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. The best part? All of the products we recommend can be purchased directly on Amazon, so creating your at-home emergency kit is easy and fast.
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 FosPower radio has a USB port for device charging.
A battery-free flashlight
Thorfire Solar Flashlight Hand Crank Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight, available on Amazon for $15.90
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 80 minutes of light from one LED bulb or 60 minutes of light from all three LED bulbs. One hour of solar exposure will provide 120 minutes of light. Additionally, the Thorfire flashlight is waterproof and submersible up to 45 feet.
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 a small first aid guide to accompany it. 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
- The Atomic Bear
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 as well as a fire starter.
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 MAX Premium Alkaline Batteries, available on Amazon for $12.34 (AA) and $12.14 (AAA)
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, as it 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. Coghlan’s has matchbooks that contain 40 waterproof matches bundled in packs of 10 for a total of 400 matches.
A package of N95 respirator masks
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.
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 Essential Bucket contains 32 servings (12 meals) of dried food that you just add water to. You can consume chili mac with beef, rice and chicken, and spaghetti with meat directly out of the package in fewer than 10 minutes.
A manual can opener
To accompany your non-perishable foods, the Zyliss can opener can lock onto cans of all sizes and even has a magnet to remove the sharp lid from the can’s top. It’s simple and doesn’t require electricity, so it’s ideal for emergency situations.
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, though.
Check out our guides to the best first aid and emergency kits you can buy
While you never want to need a first aid kit, should that need arise, you’ll be glad you planned ahead and kept some high-quality medical supplies on hand.
Choose the first aid kit that best suits the people and the situations in which they’ll be, and then hope you never have to use it. With those tips in mind, read on to see which of our top picks is best for your needs.
Here are the best first aid kits you can buy:
- Best first aid kit overall: First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Kit
- Best first aid kit for the office: Be Smart Get Prepared 250 Piece First Aid Kit
- Best first aid kit for the car: TripWorthy Compact Travel First Aid Kit
- Best first aid kit for disaster preparedness: Lightning X Products First Responder First Aid Kit
- Best first aid kit on a budget: Coleman All Purpose Mini First Aid Kit
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.
Here are the best emergency kits you can buy:
- Best emergency prep kit overall: Sustain Supply Co. Four-72 Emergency Survival Kit
- Best emergency kit for severe weather: ER Emergency Ready Tornado/Hurricane Survival Kit
- Best low-cost emergency preparedness kit: Ready America 2-Person 3-Day Emergency Kit
- Best emergency kit for evacuations: Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug-Out Bag
- Best compact emergency preparedness kit: Aootek Emergency Survival Kit