Today it’s all about 25 emergency items you need. Emergencies, a majority of the time, happens when you least expect them, and if you’re not prepared for it, your family could pay for it dearly. This is why you need to be stocking up on a number of emergency supplies to ensure their safety. Some of the items on this list may be ones that you’ve never used or even thought about owning before. They would certainly be useful to you during a crisis.
Because tornados and hurricanes tend to happen most often during the summer or early fall we don’t think of a disaster in our area at other times of the year. I recently updated a post in which I highlighted things we need to do to prepare for power outages. Because of winter wind, rain, and snow storms, power outages a fairly common. They can be frustrating, but in some cases, can cause serious risks to you and your family.
The term preparedness is one I use all the time. I strongly promote the idea that every family has the responsibility to be as prepared as possible for emergencies. Most emergencies seem to be outside the context of our control, but what we can do is control how we plan ahead and stock up on things that can help us get through those situations with the least amount of injury, sickness, and harm to life and property.
Today’s discussion covers only 25 items I’ve found to be important in event of an emergency. I’m sure you can think of others based on your own personal experience or the experiences of those around you. Hopefully, if nothing else, this list and the information provided will aid you as you put together an emergency kit, survival kit, preparedness kit, or whatever you want to call it.
You might want to help put together emergency kits for your extended family, neighbors, or others you feel might be most at risk. Many of these seem like common sense items, and they are since they make up many basic items you use every day.
In case you missed my post, Urban Survival Class: How to Make a Bug Out Lanyard
I highly recommend this lantern/flashlight, Bushnell TRKR 1000L Lantern
25 Emergency Items You Need
1. Water Containers
Having enough drinking water should be one of your first concerns when it comes to preparing for an emergency. Make sure that you have plenty of filled containers already set aside, and also others that you can use to add to your supply.
I love the WaterBricks shown below. These hold 3.5-gallons of water and weigh about 27 pounds each when filled. I use Water Preserver in these so I only have to rotate the water every 5 years. I use a 1/2 teaspoon of Water Preserver in each WaterBrick (the 3.5-gallon size). You can stack them, and or put them under beds. They also have a Water Spigot available (see picture below) for purchase, separately.
How much water you need to store is really a personal preference. Many government agencies and other groups like the American Red Cross suggest at least one gallon of water per person per day. The amount would cover personal hydration needs, but not much else.
I have always suggested 4 gallons per person per day. That amount could help support not only needed hydration, but also cooking, small laundry tasks, and some limited personal hygiene. We tend to forget that personal sanitation is an important part of getting through an emergency scenario.
The size of your family, the length of time the emergency might continue, and the space you have available will determine your water storage needs. I’ve used 55-gallon barrels and large 160 and 250-gallon tanks stored in my garage. I want to be as prepared as possible when it comes to water, so large containers are how I roll.
You need to remember not to put your water containers directly on cement. I put mine on 2″ x 4″ wood planks or wood pallets to keep any chemicals from leaching into the water through the base of the container. Of course, it’s important to use plastic containers that are BPA-free and to fill them with a hose that is lead-free.
I use the WaterPreserver product in these large tanks too. You can use bleach and water purification tablets, but I don’t want to drain and refill my containers all the time, so the Water Preserver product fits my needs very well.
You should also consider water filtration systems as a backup measure in case you run out of water, the water from your tap becomes contaminated, or you find a new source of water that you haven’t tested before. Big Berkey and PortaWell are two products from reputable companies I can strongly recommend you consider. (See #2 below)
2. Water Filter/Purifier
If the tap water that’s coming out of your faucet is no longer dependable, what would you do? I’d encourage you to get a water purifier not only for your home but also a portable water filter in case you’re forced from your home. That way your family will be able to drink water that comes directly from almost any water source. Berkey Sports Bottle (BLUE bottle below)
Berkey also has a Big Berkey product that provides a gravity-fed filtration option that generates more volume. The PortaWell filtration system costs more, but I like mine since it filters the water using a battery-based pump system. It can filter about 60 gallons per hour, a rate of filtration I can live with if I have to put it to use.
You want to make sure any system you purchase provides some disease control through the prevention of germs, bacteria, and viruses living in the water you want to consume. I just ordered this filter and will add pictures when I get them and try them. Sawyer Water Filter Bottle
You should consider firewood for warmth and cooking purposes. If you have the space to do so, start storing your chopped firewood as soon as you can. Sometimes people ask me how much emergency fuel they need to store. Here’s the deal, you can get by with “cooking” one meal a day. If you feel you need two to three meals a day you’ll need more fuel, obviously.
We will need that fuel to boil water so we can wash dishes if nothing else. You may plan to clean just the pans and serving utensils, but you need soap and hot water. I keep six tanks of propane stored at all times. I can use it with my CampChef stove/oven, my BBQ, and my 2-burner propane stove.
We’ll have to be careful with the amount of fuel we use so we don’t go through too much fuel too quickly. I have enough different types of fuel to last me well over a year to cook meals. Now, if my neighbors need help with cooking because they didn’t plan for any emergency, my fuel will be used much faster.
This is why it’s critical we meet with neighbors to confirm everyone is preparing. Most are not, so be prepared for that, if you feel comfortable with sharing. Here’s a picture of my charcoal briquettes without starter fluid (blue bucket), oak hardwood charcoal (red bucket), pinecones (black bucket), and raw wood (green bucket).
I guess I may overdo things, but having the fuel sources stored in colored buckets helps me evaluate how much I have of every kind of fuel, and I’ve got a bunch of buckets. You may want to stock some Zanfel for (Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash)
I also purchased wash sinks, so I can discard the water outside should our sewer lines become backed up or shut off completely. It’s all about making plans for the unexpected. These are the “sinks” I have shown below. If you have buckets, those will work. Lindy’s 12-Quart Stainless Steel Flat Bottom Dish Pan
4. Flashlight w/batteries/Solar Flashlights/Lanterns
Don’t leave your family fumbling around in the dark. Make sure that you have several extra flashlights on hand and also a stockpile of extra batteries as a backup to hold you over. I have flashlights with batteries, but I have several solar flashlights too. Lanterns with batteries or solar ones are awesome.
I keep my solar flashlights on my windowsills all the time so I know they are charged and ready to go. I plan to shelter in place, if at all possible, so having things readily available and ready to go just makes good sense.
5. Gas Containers
You will be needing a stockpile of gas for your generator, vehicles, cooking purposes, and possibly other reasons. Make sure you store this fuel in a safe place, away from your home, and away from any flammable sources. Also, gas needs to be “treated” or its composition changes and can plug up your car and appliances. Talk to your gas provider, Auto Zone, or a mechanic to see what needs to be added and in what volumes.
6. Knife and Knife Sharpener
Knives can be used to butcher meat, chop fruits and vegetables, and cut some rope, twine, or duct tape if you need to. Yet, a knife will become useless once it’s become dull, so don’t forget to have a knife sharpener as well.
7. Food and an Outdoor Cooking Method
Storing food for your family is almost as critical as having the water we mention in #1. I won’t go into all the details here about what foods, how to store them, etc. You can go to my archives above and search for hundreds of questions regarding food storage.
If your electricity has gone out and you’re not able to use your stove for cooking, you’ll have to come up with another solution for preparing your meals. You may have a charcoal or propane grill in your backyard that you can use in the meantime, but when your situation is dire and you have to bug out, a camp stove or Kelly Kettle Stove may be necessary. This is a Kelly Kettle below. It uses pine cones, twigs, and dry leaves for fuel. It can heat a pan of soup or boil water in just a couple of minutes. (Also see #3 above for ideas.)
8. Cast Iron Cooking Gear
When you’re forced to leave your home, you’ll need skillets and pans that you can cook in. Your current kitchen cookware won’t hold up as well over a roaring outdoor fire. I’d encourage you to spend a little extra and get something that’s durable, like cast iron. Here are more reasons why you need to have cast iron for your outdoor cooking purposes.
I wish everyone could have a 6-quart Dutch Oven. If you have a Dutch oven and charcoal with matches or a lighter, you can cook just about anything, and boil water as well.
9. Fishing Gear
For those of you who live near a body of water, there’s a good chance that it may provide your family with enough fish to stay nourished. Knowing the basics of fishing, and having the right fishing gear will provide you and your family with another meal solution. This is one area where preparation can prove to be a fun family exercise everyone can enjoy.
Having an abundance of seeds will provide your family with fruits and vegetables if you were to ever wake up one day and the grocery store was no longer an option. In case you missed my post, Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots. I’m still growing lettuce, spinach, and cilantro outside. They have survived several freezing nights with the row covers. This is where I buy all of my garden seeds: SeedsNow
Of course, having a garden isn’t something you do as an afterthought. It takes planning, space, seeds, fertilizer, good soil, and water. I’ve written a great series you should check out where I outline what can be planted in the various temperature zone throughout the year. I can prove to be a valuable guide as you make your yard a beautiful and useful source of food.
11. Garden Tools/Gloves
Okay, so you got your seeds you’re going to grow, but now you’re going to need the gardening tools to see those vegetable crops all the way to harvest. My mantra is to “buy right the first time.” Your garden tools should last you many years if you get good quality items and then take good care of them.
12. Canning Supplies/Dehydrator
Without being able to go to the grocery store following a major crisis, you could have a garden to fall back on, but that may not be an option during the winter. You’ll need a process where you can prepare and store your harvested food. That way it’s preserved for a longer period of time. This is something to consider since you can’t rely on your perishable foods to last very long. We all need to work on having more non-perishable food available
We all know how hard canning supplies have been to find in stores for months now. Quality lids from manufacturers we’ve grown to trust are a real issue. I keep hearing Ball/Kerr (Jarmin) are ramping up their supplies. Be careful with poor-quality canning lids, there’s nothing worse than having bad canning lids after you’ve spent the whole weekend canning the bounty from your hard work in the garden. Please make sure you’re buying them from reputable companies.
Please watch for a dehydrator to dehydrate your harvest when your budget allows. They’re generally pretty easy to use, and fruit slices that are dehydrated make great snacks! Dehydrating apples is particularly easy, How To Dehydrate Apples
If a garden isn’t an option for you, keep your eyes open for sales at your local market. Or better yet, check out what may be available at a farmer’s market nearby.
Even if you’ve never swung an axe before, you may be needing an ax to chop down and split some firewood, depending on where you live and the availability of wood. One of our homes had a fireplace insert we used to heat the home a couple of winters. I sure saved us on the heating bill, but it was a lot of work cutting the wood.
We borrowed a neighbor’s flatbed trailer and towed it behind our Suburban. We made the wood gathering a family activity but camping out, eating over an open campfire, and then cutting, stacking, and hauling the wood home. We would get multiple “cords” of wood and use it all winter. Of course, Mark used his gas chainsaw rather than an axe, but you get the idea. Truper 300864 DB Michigan Axe, 3-1/2lb
Tarps can be used to cover your supplies from the elements, to drag heavier objects, and also as a handy shelter if needed.
15. Duct Tape
Duct tape could very well be what saves the day for your family during a crisis. It’s great for repairing things and also to make something that would benefit your family during an emergency. Duct Tape and Gorilla Duct Tape
I’d also suggest some good-quality rope or heavy twine.
16. Portable Mattresses/Blankets
Your situation may already be bad enough as it is, and sleeping on the ground outdoors will only leave you feeling worse. Be sure to have portable mattresses on-hand, whether it’s a blowup mattress or a few cots. Don’t forget how nice it is to have a warm blanket to wrap up in at the end of the day. Having some blankets for each person to help them stay warm is a great way to be prepared.
17. Sleeping Bags
Even during the summer, it can get fairly cool at night when you’re sleeping underneath the stars. You’ll want to spend a little extra to invest in good quality sleeping bags that will keep your family warm at night. A sleeping bag can come in different weights and sizes. The down from a goose or duck makes for good insulation in high-end sleeping bags. Using the tarps mentioned in #14 above will make all the difference if you have to sleep on the ground.
18. Portable Toilets
After the power has gone out and the local water district pumps don’t work, you no longer have a way to flush the toilet. It’s always a wise choice to have a portable toilet available if your bathroom throne becomes useless. You’ll want to have a portable toilet or a composting toilet that you can use.
Mark and I actually made a few portable toilets for family and friends for Christmas gifts a few years ago. They proved to be a fun gift since many of our friends had never seen a contraption like that before. They may never have to use them, but they all seemed grateful.
Of course, you’ll need toilet paper, hand sanitizer, moist wipes, and possibly paper towels to go along with the toilet. I’d suggest you get some thicker garbage bags to “catch” what ends up in the toilet. The waterproof container/bucket used to make the toilet needs to be sturdy, and so does the seat.
You may want to invest in some plastic sheeting to put under the toilet in case of spillage, or to use to wrap around the toilet area for privacy. Make sure you dispose of the bags appropriately.
19. Fire Extinguishers
Fires don’t happen too often, but the chances of having one really increase when you’re using an outdoor fire every day to prepare meals. In case you’re wondering about fire extinguishers, this may help you choose the one you need. FIRE Extinguisher. I have this one: First Alert Fire Extinguisher | Professional Fire Extinguisher, Red, 10 lb, PRO10
Here are some interesting facts about regular fire extinguishers we have at home, in the garage, or in the car. All fire extinguishers are labeled with certain information to help identify which classification of fuel the extinguisher will be effective in controlling our putting out:
1. Class A Fires: Ordinary combustibles like paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and many plastics.
2. Class B Fires: Flammable liquids like oil, and gasoline, charcoal lighter, and kerosene.
3. Class C Fires: Energized electrical equipment like wiring or motors. Once the electricity to those is turned off they become a Class A.
4. Class D Fires: Combustible metals like aluminum, magnesium, or titanium.
So when you purchase a fire extinguisher it is extremely important to identify the type of fuel igniting the fire that you suspect would be most common so you can select the correct extinguisher you think may be best for your personal situation to do the job correctly.
To me, if funds are available, it makes sense to have each type since you may need to put out a grease fire in the kitchen, a wood fire in the fireplace or backyard, or a chemical fire if you have flammable chemicals anywhere on your property.
20. Rat Poison / Bug Spray
Following a major crisis, rats and rodents could be lingering everywhere, whether you live in a rural environment or the middle of town. Rat poison is a great way to keep them out of your home if this happens.
Like rodents, bugs (flies, cockroaches, etc.) would also be an issue when you’re living in a world with unsanitary conditions. A stockpile of canned bug spray would help prevent a bug infestation from happening. Rat Traps just add some peanut butter.
21. Various Personal Items
This list could end up being endless, but here are a few items you’ll want to have an extra supply on hand:
- Baby supplies: diapers, infant formula, toys,
- Personal hygiene items: toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, feminine supplies, moist towelettes, soap, contact lens solution, and tweezers
- Health support items: prescriptions, over-the-counter medications like aspirin, Tylenol, antacids, lotions for dry skin and sun protection, masks, including a dust mask, a first aid kit with ointments, gauze, plastic ties, bandages, a thermometer, scissors, pads, and splints
- Pet supplies: pet food, leash, toys, and poop bags
- Temporary kitchen items: paper goods like paper plates, bowls, cups, plastic utensils, manual can openers, and cookware
- Communication service: cell phones, chargers, laptops, walkie-talkies, and NOAA-capable radio
- Important family documents (in case of evacuation): identification, medical records, bank account records, contact list for professional providers like your doctor, dentist, insurance agent (include copies of insurance policies), personal identification for all family members in case you get separated
- Other personal items: change of clothes, other extra clothing including shoes and boots, disaster supplies kit
22. Candles with Matches and/or Lighter
The batteries in your flashlights will eventually start to run low. Although candles are a bit more dangerous inside a home, they may be your only option if your situation doesn’t improve. Many of us don’t smoke, but having a lighter, or one of those small butane wands, can really be a lifesaver.
Generators are nice to have to keep your lights and appliances working when you’ve lost your electricity. If you have a good one, it can be hooked up to your home to keep the heat or the A/C unit working, not to mention, help keep everyone in your family from going crazy from the temperatures they aren’t used to.
Generators can be a really costly item, but you should do your research and see if there isn’t one that can fit your budget, even if it doesn’t do all you’d like. I actually have readers who have indicated they’ve made their own solar generators.
24. Flare Gun
Should a hurricane strike your area and the massive flooding forces your family out onto the roof of your home, shooting off a flare gun may get the rescue crew’s attention.
If you’re ever trapped beneath the rubble of your house or all the street light are out, if you can hear an emergency crew nearby, a whistle can truly be a lifesaver and you’ll be glad you had one with you. Something heavy against your body may hinder you from calling out, or your voice might become hoarse from yelling out for an extended period, so a whistle can really make a difference. The Best Emergency Whistles
It seems our climate is changing all the time, no matter where we live. This is a list of 25 emergency items that every prepper should have in their emergency preparedness kit, though it’s not an exhaustive list. Food, water, a first-aid kit, baby needs, hygiene, and feminine products are all mentioned, but there are other items that you will need to consider.
What are some other items that would be essential during an emergency? What are some emergency items you’ve found you need based on your own experience(s)? Please be prepared before you need to be. May God Bless this world, Linda