No matter where you live or what type of disaster situations you may be facing, there are some basic preparedness supplies that everyone should have on hand “just in case”.
In the event of an emergency, you and your family may need to survive on your own for several days- or longer. This means you might not have access to things like electricity, fresh water and plumbing, or other modern conveniences.
When I was young, we lived in Maryland, right where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. I remember every single time there was a hurricane in the forecast my parents would pack us up and we’d have to stay at a friend’s house for a few days.
When we came back home, we’d have to park the car a mile down the road and walk because there was a foot of water on the road.
At 5 years old, I thought it was fun and exciting. But as an adult, I know the planning my parents might have had to do to keep us all safe each time a hurricane came through. Having a kit full of emergency supplies, make going through these kinds of disasters much easier, and much less stressful.
An emergency supply kit is a collection of basic items that may need in the event of an emergency. But what do you put in this kit to ensure that you have everything you need in case of a natural disaster or other emergency?
Here are five supplies that you absolutely MUST have in your emergency kit. So make sure you have them now, before a disaster strikes.
5 Must Have Emergency Preparedness Supplies to Keep on Hand
Water is arguably the most important supply of all. I mean you can make it without electricity for quite awhile. And you can actually survive for a surprisingly long time without food. But what about water?
According to Medical News Today a person can survive about 3 days without water, on average. Of course temperature, age, activity levels, etc can affect this average.
And in the case of emergency or disaster you may not have access to a reliable source of drinking water.
This means our normal water sources could be compromised or become contaminated. So the most important emergency preparedness supply is fresh, clean water.
Here’s what to put in your emergency disaster kit when it comes to water storage:
All of these supplies will ensure that, in case of emergency, you and your family will have plenty of clean water to drink.
I live in the south, and everyone loves to joke about how we southerners flock to the store for “bread and milk” whenever a tiny amount of snow is in the forecast.
But the truth is, in case of emergency you may not be able to get to a store for food.
Your power may go out preventing you from keeping perishable foods cool and keep you from cooking food in an oven.
People can go a surprisingly long period of time without food- a couple weeks- but it’s better to prepare ahead of time so you don’t have to put yourself or your family through and unplanned fast.
You should always keep a few ready to eat foods, non-perishable foods in your cabinets at all times. These foods have a long shelf life and don’t require you to heat them up before eating.
Don’t forget to take into account your family supplies when packing emergency food. You need enough to feed your family members for at least a few days, so calculate how much food per person per day to ensure that you have enough.
Here are some foods you can keep on hand in your emergency/disaster supplies:
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Home preserved foods -ie canned/dehydrated
- Peanut butter
- Protein bars
- Canned tuna or chicken
- Powdered milk
- Dried fruits (ie raisins) or freeze dried fruits
- An emergency survival food bucket
Make sure to rotate this food every now and again so that it doesn’t expire before you actually experience an emergency.
If you live in an area that is prone to natural disaster risk- such as in a hurricane or tornado prone area, you can also stock up on foods with a shorter shelf life during the season.
Don’t forget to also keep things like utensils and a can opener on hand too!
A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is something you should keep at home and in the car at all times. You just never know when you might need a bandage or antiseptic. But in case of an emergency you need a more extensive first aid kit.
The size of your survival kit will depend on the size of your family. In addition to the standard first aid kit supplies you will want to add extra medications that you and your family might need in case of emergency.
Some things to put in your emergency first aid kit:
- Antiseptic wipes or ointment
- Gauze and tape
- Pain reliever
- A thermometer
- Extra prescription medications
- Sharp scissors
- Antihistamine (ie. Benadryl)
Make sure you check this kit regularly to check for things like expired medications and creams.
Keep all of these items together in an accessible bag to make sure you’re prepared when you need to grab your supplies and leave quickly.
Flashlight And Batteries
This may not seem like an important thing to keep in case of a disaster, but there’s nothing worse than trying to find your belongings- or your way- in the dark.
Keeping a flashlight or 2 can help you stay safe as you move around in the dark.
Plus let’s face it, kids don’t always love being in the dark. It can be very scary for kids when the power goes out, especially if there’s a state of emergency too. Having a light will help them feel more secure and safe.
Along with the flashlight be sure to keep lots of batteries in various sizes. You won’t know how long you will be without power so keeping lots of batteries will ensure you always have a light.
Batteries can also be used for other equipment during a loss of power. Here’s what to put in your kit:
- Batteries in all sizes
- A lantern- we have this lantern that is electric charge, battery, and solar
- A couple handheld flashlights
- A couple headlamps
- Candles and matches- just in case
Weather Radio (or hand crank/battery powered radio)
The last must have is a radio. Electricity is almost always the first thing to go out in an emergency.
This means you won’t have access to a cell phone charger, the TV, computer, or an electric radio.
You also can’t rely on your internet access or cell phone data to give you information you need.
Keep a small battery operated weather radio in your emergency supplies so that you always know what is going on and can get all the latest weather and government updates as well as news.
You can also us a hand cranked radio for this purpose.
Don’t overlook the importance of having information when it comes to disaster preparedness!
Additional Emergency Supplies for Your Disaster Kit
In addition to the top 5 must have supplies, here’s a list of other items to keep on hand in case of an emergency.
- Mylar blanket
- Dust mask
- Simple hand tools (screwdriver, wrench, etc)
- Matches and lighter
- Extra shoes/clothes
- Emergency contact information
Where to Keep You Emergency Kit and Preparedness Supplies
In the Home: You home emergency survival kit can be much larger and extensive than one you need to pack in the car or on the go.
Your home kit can have additional supplies, a larger supply of food and emergency water.
But I also suggest keeping a smaller kit of supplies that is easy to carry, one that you can grab and go if you need to leave home.
Keeping your home stocked with canned or dried foods, batteries, and a few back ups is always a good idea.
In the Car: Since you might not always be at home during an emergency or natural disaster, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit and a small kit in your car as well.
This might include a day supply of food, a change of clothes, a blanket, and a few tools and supplies (like the ones on this list).
At Work: And finally, if you have an office or locker at work, consider keeping a few preparedness supplies there as well.
Depending on your space availability, you may just be able to get a small amount of food and water, and a first aid kit, and that’s okay.