What Should I Include In My Emergency Preparedness Kit?

In times of unexpected emergencies, it’s crucial to be prepared for any situation that may arise. That’s why having an emergency preparedness kit readily available is a must. But what exactly should you include in your kit to ensure you have everything you need? From essential supplies like food and water to crucial items like flashlights and first aid kits, this article will guide you through the essential components you should consider including in your emergency preparedness kit. So, let’s get started and make sure you’re well-prepared for whatever comes your way.

Table of Contents

Basic Survival Items

Water for drinking and sanitation

In any emergency situation, having access to clean drinking water is essential for your survival. It is recommended to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days. Additionally, you should also have water for sanitation purposes, such as hygiene and cleaning dishes. Keep in mind that water sources may become contaminated during a disaster, so it is crucial to have water purification tablets or a portable water filter as well.

Food for at least three days

Having an adequate supply of non-perishable food is vital in an emergency situation. Store foods that are easy to prepare and require minimal water and cooking time. Canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and granola bars are excellent options. Remember to consider any special dietary needs or restrictions when selecting your emergency food supply. It is advisable to rotate your food supply regularly to ensure freshness.

Battery or hand-crank radio

In times of disaster, communication becomes crucial. A battery or hand-crank radio will allow you to stay informed about the latest news, weather updates, and emergency announcements. Make sure to have extra batteries or a hand-crank charger for your radio.


Power outages are common during emergencies, making a flashlight an essential item in your emergency preparedness kit. Opt for LED flashlights, as they are energy efficient and provide longer battery life. Keep spare batteries or consider using rechargeable ones to ensure your flashlight is always ready to use.

First aid kit

A comprehensive first aid kit is a must-have in any emergency situation. It should include bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, sterile gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, gloves, and a first-aid manual. Additionally, consider including any necessary medications, such as pain relievers and antihistamines.

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Whistle to signal for help

During emergencies, it’s possible that you may need to attract attention for rescue. Including a whistle in your kit can be a lifesaver, as it allows you to alert others of your presence even when your voice might not be heard. Three short bursts on a whistle are universally recognized as a distress signal.

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air

In certain emergency situations, the air quality may be compromised due to dust, smoke, or hazardous particles. A dust mask or N95 respirator will protect your lungs and help filter out contaminants, ensuring your respiratory health is not compromised.

Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

In the event that you are required to seek shelter at home, having plastic sheeting and duct tape can help create a temporary barrier to protect against external elements. Ensure you have enough to cover windows, doors, and any other potential entry points.

Manual can opener for food

If your emergency food supply mainly consists of canned goods, a manual can opener is a necessity. While electric can openers are convenient, they may not function during power outages, making a manual opener a reliable alternative.

Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Your cell phone can be a critical tool during an emergency, providing communication and access to important information. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and include a charger in your kit. Additionally, having a backup battery or portable charger is recommended, as power sources may be limited.

Medical Supplies

Prescription medications

If you or your family members rely on prescription medications, it’s crucial to have a sufficient supply in your emergency kit. Make sure to periodically review and replace any expired medications.

Non-prescription medications

For minor ailments and discomfort, it’s beneficial to have non-prescription medications on hand. Pain relievers, antacids, cough syrup, and allergy medicine are some examples of non-prescription medications to include in your kit.

Glasses and contact lens solution

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, including spare pairs in your emergency kit is vital. Additionally, don’t forget to pack contact lens solution, a glasses repair kit, and spare batteries for hearing aids if needed.

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

It’s essential to consider the specific needs of all individuals when preparing an emergency kit. For women, including a sufficient supply of feminine hygiene products is crucial. Additionally, personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, and towels should be included.

Comprehensive first-aid manual

While having a first aid kit is crucial, it’s equally important to be knowledgeable about basic first aid procedures. Including a comprehensive first-aid manual will provide guidance and support in case of any medical emergencies.

What Should I Include In My Emergency Preparedness Kit?

Tools and Safety Items


A multi-tool is a versatile item that combines various tools in one compact device. It can include features such as pliers, screwdrivers, blades, and bottle openers. Having a multi-tool in your emergency kit can prove invaluable for various tasks and situations.

Matches in a waterproof container

During emergencies, access to fire can be essential for various purposes, such as cooking, signaling, and staying warm. Keep matches in a waterproof container to ensure they remain dry and usable even in wet conditions.

Fire extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher in your emergency kit is crucial for mitigating small fires and preventing them from escalating. Ensure the fire extinguisher is appropriate for the types of fires you are likely to encounter, such as Class A (ordinary combustibles) and B (flammable liquids) fires.

Tent or emergency blanket

In situations where evacuation or displacement is necessary, having a tent or emergency blanket will provide necessary shelter from the elements. Look for lightweight, compact options that are easy to set up and provide adequate protection.

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Compact stove and fuel

A compact stove, such as a camping stove or a portable gas stove, can be a lifesaver if you need to prepare hot meals or boil water for sterilization purposes. Make sure to include enough fuel to last for the intended duration.


A sturdy, multipurpose knife is an essential tool for various tasks during emergencies. It can be used for cutting, preparing food, opening packages, and many other purposes. Choose a knife with a fixed blade for durability and consider a sheath for safe storage.

Rope and duct tape

Rope and duct tape are incredibly versatile tools that can assist in securing shelter, building a makeshift stretcher, or performing critical repairs. Choose a strong, durable rope and include several rolls of duct tape in your kit.

Sanitation and Personal Hygiene Items

Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

Maintaining oral hygiene is essential, even in emergency situations. Include toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss in your emergency kit to ensure proper dental care.

Soap and hand sanitizer

Maintaining proper hygiene, especially hand hygiene, is crucial to prevent the spread of infections. Include soap as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your emergency kit for handwashing when water is limited or not available.

Toilet paper and wipes

In a situation where regular amenities might not be accessible, having toilet paper and sanitary wipes is essential for maintaining personal hygiene. Pack these items in a waterproof bag to keep them dry and readily available.

Personal hygiene products

Consider the specific personal hygiene needs of each individual and include necessary items such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and any other hygiene products that are part of your regular routine.

Garbage bags and plastic ties

Having garbage bags and plastic ties is essential for waste disposal during emergencies. They can also serve multiple purposes, such as rain protection, storage, and organizing items.

What Should I Include In My Emergency Preparedness Kit?

Important Documents

Copies of driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate

In case of evacuation or loss of personal belongings, having copies of essential identification documents is crucial. Keep copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate in a waterproof, easily accessible container.

Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards

Medical emergencies may require immediate access to your insurance information. Keep copies of your medical insurance and Medicare cards along with your important documents to ensure you have the necessary details readily available.

List of allergies and medical history

In high-stress situations, it can be challenging to remember specific medical information. Maintain a comprehensive list of any allergies, medical conditions, and prescribed medications for each family member. Include relevant medical history to provide healthcare professionals with vital information when needed.

Copies of prescriptions for medications and eyeglasses

Having copies of your prescription medications and eyeglass prescriptions is crucial, particularly if you need to refill or replace them during an emergency situation. Ensure the copies are up to date and stored securely.

List of credit card companies, account numbers, and phone numbers

In case of loss or theft of your wallet or purse, having a comprehensive list of your credit card companies, account numbers, and emergency contact phone numbers will aid in reporting and canceling any compromised cards promptly.

Money and Communication

Cash and change

During emergencies, access to ATMs or electronic payment systems may become limited or unavailable. Keep a stash of cash and small change in your emergency kit to ensure you can purchase essential items and services if needed.

Traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks can provide an additional backup for accessing funds, especially if other payment methods are unavailable. Keep them in a secure location within your emergency kit.

Deck of cards or small games for entertainment

During times of stress and uncertainty, having a source of entertainment can be crucial in maintaining morale and reducing anxiety. Include a deck of cards or small games that can be enjoyed by all family members.

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Paper, pencil, and marker

Having basic stationery items such as paper, pencils, and markers can be useful for leaving notes, writing down important information, or playing games that require written communication.

Solar or hand-crank cell phone charger

To ensure your cell phone remains functional during extended power outages, include a solar-powered or hand-crank cell phone charger. These devices can help keep your communication lines open even when electricity is scarce.

What Should I Include In My Emergency Preparedness Kit?

Clothes and Bedding

Sturdy shoes or hiking boots

In case of evacuation or moving through rugged terrain, having sturdy shoes or hiking boots will provide the necessary foot protection and support. Choose footwear that is comfortable, waterproof, and appropriate for different weather conditions.

Rain gear

Unpredictable weather conditions during emergencies may include heavy rainfall. Include rain gear such as waterproof jackets, pants, and boots to keep yourself dry and comfortable.

Hats and gloves

Hats and gloves serve multiple purposes during emergencies. They can provide protection against extreme cold, heat, or even sunburn. Including a variety of hats and gloves suitable for different weather conditions is advisable.

Thermal underwear

In cold climates or during prolonged power outages, thermal underwear can help maintain body heat and protect against hypothermia. Pack thermal tops and bottoms made of insulating materials for added warmth.

Blankets or sleeping bags

Having warm blankets or sleeping bags is essential, especially if you need to sleep in temporary shelters or evacuation centers. Opt for lightweight, compact options that provide adequate insulation and comfort.

Food and Water

At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

As mentioned earlier, having a sufficient supply of non-perishable food is crucial for your survival. Ensure you have enough food to last for at least three days. Consider individual dietary needs and restrictions when selecting food items.

Water purification tablets

In addition to storing water, it’s essential to have water purification tablets or drops to treat water from alternative sources. These tablets eliminate potentially harmful bacteria and parasites, ensuring that the water you consume is safe.

Portable water filter

A portable water filter is another effective method of purifying water in emergencies. These filters can remove bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants, providing you with clean and safe drinking water.

Cooking equipment

Include basic cooking equipment in your emergency kit, such as a portable stove or cookware suitable for open fires. This will allow you to prepare meals or heat food if necessary.

Eating utensils

Having a set of lightweight, durable eating utensils will ensure you can eat your emergency food supply comfortably and hygienically. Pack reusable utensils such as forks, spoons, and knives.

Infant or Elderly Care

Formula, bottles, and other feeding supplies

If you have an infant, ensure you have enough formula, bottles, and feeding supplies to last for the intended duration. In emergencies, obtaining proper nutrition for infants becomes a top priority.

Diapers, wipes, and rash cream

For infants and young children, having an ample supply of diapers, wipes, and rash cream is crucial for maintaining cleanliness and preventing discomfort. Pack these items in sufficient quantities.

Medications and medical supplies

If you care for an elderly or chronically ill individual, make sure to include their necessary medications and any required medical supplies in your emergency kit. Pay attention to expiration dates and replenish supplies as needed.

Protein drink mix for the elderly

For elderly individuals with specific dietary needs, including protein drink mixes or nutritional supplements can help ensure they receive the necessary nourishment during emergencies.

Special dietary food if necessary

Consider any special dietary requirements for infants, elderly individuals, or family members with specific health conditions. Include appropriate food items to meet those needs, such as hypoallergenic or gluten-free options.

Pet Supplies

Pet food and water

If you have pets, don’t forget to include an adequate supply of pet food and water in your emergency kit. Keep in mind any specific dietary requirements or medical conditions that your pets may have.

Leash, harness, or carrier

Ensure you have a suitable leash, harness, or pet carrier to safely transport and restrain your pets during evacuations or in unfamiliar environments. This will help ensure the safety and security of your beloved furry friends.

Medications and medical records

If your pets require any medications or have specific medical conditions, include an ample supply of their medications in your emergency kit. Additionally, keep copies of their medical records, including vaccination records and any relevant medical history.

Current photos and descriptions

In case you are separated from your pets during an emergency, having current photos and descriptions will aid in their identification and increase the chances of being reunited. Keep these records in a waterproof container.

Litter or bedding material

For cats or small pets, including a sufficient supply of litter or bedding material is essential. This will help maintain a clean and comfortable environment for them during uncertain circumstances.

Remember, emergencies can happen unexpectedly, and it’s crucial to be prepared. By assembling a comprehensive emergency preparedness kit that includes basic survival items, medical supplies, tools, personal hygiene items, important documents, money, communication tools, clothes and bedding, food and water, infant or elderly care items (if applicable), and pet supplies, you will be better equipped to handle any situation that comes your way. Regularly check and update your kit to ensure everything is in working order and replace expired items as necessary. With proper planning and preparation, you can ensure the safety and well-being of yourself, your family, and even your cherished pets during the most challenging times.