Top 10 Essentials for a Home Emergency Kit

No one wants to think about having to live through a disaster, but there are a few simple supplies that can make a big difference if you ever do encounter extreme weather, a natural disaster or other emergency. Add these items to your regular shopping list to create a kit of supplies that will help you stay safe.

Here are some of the basic items your home emergency kit should include:

Water

Plan on one gallon of water per person per day. Stock your kit with enough water to last for at least three days.

Food

You'll need at least a three-day supply of nonperishable, nutrient-dense food. If you buy canned goods, be sure to include a manual can opener with your kit.

Flashlight

Keep lights loaded with fresh batteries, and check them periodically to make sure they’re still working.

Radio

Shop for a battery-powered or hand-crank radio that will work if the power is out.

First Aid Kit

Create your own or buy one ready-made. Your kit should include an up-to-date first aid manual, sterile gauze pads of different sizes, adhesive tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, disposable cold packs and latex gloves. You might also want to include non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication and antacids.

Blankets

Stock some lightweight camping blankets or emergency blankets with impermeable metalized plastic that can trap radiated body heat.

Extra Batteries

Be sure to buy an assortment of battery types. Check your flashlights and other key equipment and make sure you have the right kind in stock.

Personal Hygiene Items

Include soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels and moist towelettes.

Cleaning Supplies

Pack chlorine bleach, dust masks, cleaning rags, plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape.

Whistle

Choose an emergency whistle that’s at least 100 decibels. Wondering how to blast the whistle in an emergency? The signal for S-O-S is 3 short, 3 long and 3 short blasts.

Cell Phone Supplies

It's always a good idea to have a fully charged cell phone power bank and an extra battery.

Add Your Personal Items

Put important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. Pack other essentials such as important prescription medications, contact lens solution, emergency cash, changes of clothes, matches, paper, pencils and sleeping bags. If you have a baby, include infant formula, bottles, diapers and wipes. If you have pets, include a three-day supply of pet food and water for each animal.

Want to Learn More?

It's always best to be prepared should an unexpected emergency situation arise. The Department of Homeland Security has more information.

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