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Your Home Emergency Kit: Items You Should Have In It

Updated on August 30, 2016


Thanks for visiting my hub on home emergency kits. Whether it's an extended power outage or a natural disaster like an earthquake, you should always be prepared at some level for an emergency. To that end, everyone needs to have a home emergency kit for those occasions when disaster strikes. Whether you choose to put it together yourself or just buy one outright, you need to have it. That said, let's take a look at some of the basic items you should have in it.

(Also, please visit my hubs on Car Emergency Kits and Best Emergency Power Generators.)


The First Item in Your Emergency Kit: Water

Unless they're involved in some physical activity that causes them to become dehydrated (like sports), people are often more concerned with addressing hunger rather than thirst. If only they knew: a healthy human being can actually survive for about 8 weeks without food. And without water? 3-5 days!!!

That being the case, water is numero uno in terms of items needed for your emergency kit. It is an absolute must-have, without excetion. If putting together your own kit, feel free to use bottled water, although emergency water packs - being more flexible and more compact - might be a better option.


Emergency Rations (aka Food)

As stated above, food isn't essential for survival in the short term, but it will certainly help to keep you comfortable during whatever crisis has arisen. However, you'll have to remember that the food needs to last, so rationing may have to become part of your overall strategy. You can't simply eat your fill.

If you're looking to stock your kit with items you might already have, you could utilize products with a long shelf life, like beef jerky. Other options include snack bars or protein bars. Or you could opt to buy an emergency meal kit like that pictured, which has a shelf life of seven years.

First Aid

I know, I know: most of us already have some type of first aid kit at home. However, the point of having an emergency kit is that it's for emergencies. In other words, while your regular first aid kit is used on a regular basis for everyday scrapes and boo-boos, the emergency kit is set aside and not used until there's an actual emergency. The last thing you want is to have an emergency situation in which you need first aid supplies, but find that you're all out because the kit you had was doing double-duty as both the everyday first aid kit and the emergency kit. It's far better to have a separate kit that is just for emergencies.

That said, there's the question of what should go in it. Here, you don't have to be particularly extravagant in terms of supplies. You'll want some alcohol pads for disinfecting, band-aids of a few varying sizes, and medication for various pains and ills (e.g., Tylenol). There's probably more you can have, but these are certainly the basics items. And again, if you don't desire to pull this stuff together from current items you have at home, you can always just buy a kit.

Flashlight and Candles

We live in a world that is rarely ever completely devoid of light. At night there are streetlamps, neon signs, well-lit advertisements, etc. Thus, very few of us realize just how dark it really gets at night when there's no artificial light. That being the case, you need to have a light source in your emergency kit.

First and foremost, you should have a flashlight. This will be your most powerful light source, but to keep from running it down you should also have other items in the artificial light category, including candles, light sticks (some of which can be seen a mile away for those occasions when you are stranded), and of course matches.

(FYI: the candle pictured is a 100+ emergency candle. Not only will it last more than four days - which is quite likely more than any emergency will last - but it is also smokeless and odorless.)

Radio and Generator

We've covered most of the basics here, but there is at least one other thing you'll desperately need during any emergency: intel.

In short, you'll need to know what's going on, what the authorities are doing, how much longer you'll be on your own, etc. Thus, you'll need a radio - either battery or solar-powered - since we are planning for an emergency in which there is no electricity.

Speaking of electricity, you may be in a situation where it is dangerous to go without it for an extended time (e.g., after an ice storm knocks out power lines). Thus, it may make sense to have a generator on hand. You can purchase either battery-powered or gas-powered generators. (Of course, with battery-powered/electric generators, you'll have to make sure they're charged before your electricity goes out. In fact, it's probably a good idea simply to keep them charged, in case of emergency...)

Conclusion and Store-Bought Emergency Kits

In retrospect, you should always have an emergency kit prepared in order to deal with any adverse situation that arises. Moreover, there are several items that should always be part of such a kit, and I've tried to touch on the most essential ones here. Needless to say, there are plenty of other items that you could incorporate into your kit: thermal blankets, hand wamers, all-weather ponchos, etc.

With that in mind, many find it easier to simply buy a ready-made kit that already has everything they require inside. Should that appeal to you, just remember that there are many diufferent types of emergency kits on the market, so simply make sure that any kit you buy will adequately fulfill your needs.

Home Emergency Kit Poll

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