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5 Must Haves Items for Your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Updated on December 11, 2013
Are you prepared?
Are you prepared? | Source

Winter is coming. The headlines regarding impending winter storms and snow showers will inevitably take over news reports all over the country. Video cameras will broadcast frantic shoppers as they scramble to buy food and supplies to carry them through until better weather reappears. But, what exactly are the things you should purchase to prepare for disasters and emergencies?

There are some things that every person should maintain at home within an emergency preparedness kit. Although they do sell these kits at stores, they might not contain things specific to geographic location or the current season. It’s best to just put together one yourself. Take a detailed survey of yourself and your family, and figure out everyone’s individual needs. Then, add the items listed below to have a complete emergency preparedness kit ready for any catastrophe.

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Preparing for the End

The end of the world is a consistent theme addressed in TV shows, films, novels, and comic books. The last days are attributed to anything from a giant meteor crash to zombies. While it is exciting to think the final days on Earth will resemble the hilarious scenes from This Is The End, most world disasters will be a result of good old Mother Nature.

In the last few years, nations all over the planet have experienced devastating natural disasters that left people without electricity, clean water, food, or shelter. There is no way to prepare for each and every disaster situation. But, it is possible to maintain some must-haves stored in an emergency preparedness kit. Having these items available can help alleviate the stress and trauma often associated with emergencies, or the highly unlikely zombapocalypse.


This is just a no-brainer. You’ll need a source of light just in case gas and electricity go out. Flashlights and battery-operated lanterns are the safest sources of light because they won’t start a fire. There are also flameless candles available, too. Candles and oil lanterns are not necessarily bad. Candles and oil are cheap, and can be purchased in bulk. But, you’ll have to be responsible in using them. Make sure anything you burn is designed for indoor use. You don’t want to add carbon monoxide to your list of worries. Oh, and don’t forget to have butane lighters or matches on hand. There’s no moment more awkward than having the electricity go out, and then discover there’s nothing available to light the candles. Lighting can also function dually as heat and cooking sources. See, there’s even more incentive to keep that fireplace cleaned and stocked ready with wood.

Light in the Dark
Light in the Dark | Source

Non-perishable Food

The US military maintains meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) to give out when troops don’t have dining facilities at their camp location. They’re packed with all types of goodies that take a long time to expire, and even include a way to heat up entrees. Take a note from the Armed Forces, and keep a supply of non-perishable foods on hand. Non-perishable includes anything that can be safe to eat at room temperature. It doesn’t require refrigeration, and could be consumed without heating. These types of foods include soups, canned meats or seafood, canned pasta, jerky, cereals, crackers, cookies, juice, flavored drink packets, and anything else you’d routinely find in the center of the grocery store. Make sure you hit up Granny for some of her delicious, canned preserves. Nothing cures disaster blues better than homemade peach preserves on sliced bread.

The meal is ready, are you?
The meal is ready, are you?


When you think about it, you use water for a lot of things other than hydration. You need it for bathing, brushing your teeth, cleaning dishes, and flushing away bodily waste. So, consider this when you’re stockpiling water. If you’re getting it from the store, go for the gallon containers instead of bottled water. The cost per unit is much less. Also, think about using those water dispensers in-store that can offer container sizes up to giant watercooler jugs. These will probably go a long way if you are without water for an extended period of time.

Canned Emergency Drinking Water with 30 year long Shelf Life.
Canned Emergency Drinking Water with 30 year long Shelf Life. | Source

First Aid Kit

Injuries are a reality of disasters. No emergency preparedness kit would be complete without it. A basic kit will include all the things to fix minor cuts or bruises. For more complex wounds or broken bones, a more advanced kit will be needed. It is also recommended that you take a first aid class that includes Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These are usually available through the local Red Cross.

One of the Best First Aid Kit on Amazon

How to Use a First Aid Kit


Don’t assume that you’ll have a temporary shelter immediately available to you and your family. It is possible that disaster response teams could take a few days before they can set up facilities. So, it is best to have a temporary shelter packed with your emergency preparedness kit.

A tent is perfectly fine to use in lieu of a physical shelter. Add sleeping bags to offer comfortable bedding. Naturally, if you’re creating a home away from home, certain household items would be beneficial. Plates, cups, utensils, and cookware make preparing or eating food easier. And, don’t worry, there is hope for coffee. A camp coffee maker makes morning joe possible even under the worst circumstances.

Emergency Tent
Emergency Tent | Source

No amount of supplies can prepare you for disasters. But, proper planning can make it easier to cope with. Having an emergency preparedness kit on hand will provide the essentials for you and your family until help arrives. The basic necessities of life—food, shelter, and water—should be included in the kit. Light sources should be safe. Make sure food won’t spoil easily. And, get enough water for all your needs. A first aid kit is great for managing minor afflictions until the medical authorities arrive. Shelters protect against the elements, and keep everyone cozy. No matter what calamity comes your way, a proper emergency preparedness kit will save the day.


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    • hyp profile image

      hyp 4 years ago

      Thanks denise for stopping by. You're right, we'll never know when will disaster strikes. Being prepared creates peace of mind and less stress too.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Several years ago, we gathered our family and made "72 hour" emergency backpacks for each of us. We put in the essentials for food, clothing, toiletries, first aid, and water. Each year we update them with new food items and current clothing needs. We keep them handy in a closet by the door. Should we have to leave in a hurry, we just grab and go. It pays to be prepared, we never know what will happen!