Emergencies can be scary and stressful for any family. They literally keep me up at night. Knowing that you have emergency supplies ready, just in case you need them, helps tremendously! Also, candy. Candy seems to help a little too.
In addition to having an emergency plan for your family, a stockpile of helpful items is something every home should keep on hand. These items are right for all kinds of scenarios from natural disaster preparedness to sheltering in place.
And while we don't really want to spend too much time thinking about these types of events, it's really important that we do.
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To start creating a family emergency stockpile just think of what you need to have, want to have and things that might help ease the stress of this crazy situation.
What You Need to Keep in Your Emergency Supplies Kit
Food and Water
- One gallon of water, per day, per person for approximately 3 days
- 3 day supply, per person of non-perishable food
- Can Opener (not electric)
These two items are the most important things to have in your family’s disaster kit. You should have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
Don't forget that you need water not only to drink but also to keep hygienic and make sure that you are keeping utensils clean, etc.
A small stockpile of non-perishable food is also important to have on hand. Canned soups, rice, pasta, oatmeal, canned vegetables, and snacks are all great options for your family’s emergency stockpile. There are also other options available like MRE's and items made specifically for emergencies.
Check out more information on emergency food and water supplies for an in-depth look at what types of foods are safe to stockpile and how to navigate the food you already have in your home in the event of an emergency.
You’ll need a way to open the canned food in your natural disaster kit, so adding a can opener to your emergency stockpile is a good idea. And while it is hard to think that this can opener might just sit there and never be used, now is not the time to scrimp and buy the cheapest one you can find. You need one you can count on.
- Toilet Paper
- Fire Starter or matches
- Extra blankets
- Cleaning Supplies
- Extra Batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Dust Masks
- Radio that runs of battery or hand crank
- Whistle to signal help
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (in case you need to seal doors and windows)
- Garbage bags, zip ties, moist towelettes (for personal hygiene)
- Wrench and pliers to help turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Back up battery for cell phones
You definitely wouldn’t want to run out of toilet paper! It's absolutely a necessity! Which is why it’s a good idea to have an extra supply of toilet paper in your emergency stockpile.
Extra blankets will help keep your family warm during a power outage in cold weather. Be sure to have at least one blanket for each member of your family. Sometimes I think, “We have plenty of blankets at home, I don't need to put one in my kit.”
But you really never know what will happen to make it so that you have to use the kit. Your normal blankest may not be accessible. Having everything in one place keeps things easy and will help you feel organized if you ever end up in a chaotic situation.
Also, I picked up some really small fleece blankets on a Black Friday sale and they are perfectly fine for our weather. If you live somewhere colder, you may need something more substantial. They also make waterproof blankets and emergency blankets depending on what you think you might need.
Cleaning supplies that will help keep your home and family sanitary are another great thing to have as part of your disaster preparedness kit. Disinfectants, like bleach and vinegar, are great, along with soap, hand sanitizer, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide.
The best way to keep your home lit when the power is with a good set of flashlights and lanterns. Be sure that each member of your family has their own flashlight in your emergency kit, as well as one in their room that is easily accessible if the power goes out in the middle of the night.
Lanterns are a great idea if you need to do anything that requires a little extra light or two hands. I remember trying to take out my contacts by the light of a flashlight once and it was awful.
Those flashlights will do your family no good if they can’t use them. Be sure to always have a stockpile of extra batteries for each flashlight and anything else that requires them in your disaster kit.
A first aid kit is another must-have item for your family’s emergency stockpile. When purchasing a first aid kit, look for one that has a variety of medical items. These ready-made kits might also include some of the other items on the bulleted list above like dust masks, whistles, plastic sheeting, etc.
Local maps are a great idea since chances are cell towers are going to be out for a while. Having a map will help you navigate the area should you need to evacuate and find obstacles along the way. I would head to Triple AAA to find my maps but I think Costco usually carries local maps too.
And while you won't be able to count on your cell phones, making sure that you have a battery for when they come back online is super important.
This is how you will get in touch with relatives that aren't nearby and let them know you are ok or ask for assistance. There are all kinds of back up batteries available including some that are solar powered which is SUCH a great idea!
It’s also a good idea to amend your safety kit to include personal items like extra prescription medication, glasses, and any other unique medical items your family can’t live without. Since we are a family of headaches, I would also make sure to keep pain relievers for myself and the kids.
Also, feminine supplies. Can you even imagine? As if the emergency isn't enough to deal with.
Emergency Supplies You May Want to Have
- Camping Stove (follow safety directions closely)
- Life Straw
- Cash (Most people suggest keeping about $100 in small bills is a good idea.)
- Change of clothes for each person
- Plastic utensils, plates, cups, etc. (mess kit)
With the power out, it will be difficult to cook. In the warm months, you could use a barbeque grill to cook your meals, but a camping stove is great to have when you’re stuck inside with no power. Just make sure you are using it correctly and in a well-ventilated area as it could be super dangerous.
A LifeStraw is such a great invention! It's a personal water filter that weights just 2 ounces and can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water making it safe to drink! I have one for the house and one for the car!
Cash is always a good idea to have on hand, but during an emergency situation, you may need to use it to buy survival essentials. Having small bills means that nobody has to make change and helps to keep you from overpaying (or taken advantage of) for if you only have bigger bills.
A change of clothes would be nice to have, especially if you are stuck in the emergency situation for a few days. Clean clothes can be life changing so it will be a mood lifter.
There is no way to foresee what could happen in an emergency, and chances are you could get injured or soiled in some way. A change of clothes is a good idea for every member of your family.
Plastic utensils and plates will help to keep things feeling civilized. Of course, you'll get food any way you can, but having cutlery will help keep things sanitary and more normal.
In an emergency situation, you've got to do everything you can to keep the family feeling positive. A mess kit is an easy way to take care of this too.
What Supplies Help to Lighten the Mood
- Drawing supplies
- Essential Oils
- Games, puzzles
- A stuffed animal
Your disaster preparedness kit should cover your family for all kinds of emergencies. It will help you to make it through a rough time by making sure you are stocked with emergency supplies like food and water.
But, if you have kids, you'll need ways to keep them from feeling too scared. Having small things on hand to keep them entertained is a great idea. They won't take up much space but will do wonders for keeping up morale and letting the kids blow off a little bit of steam.
A favorite book of your child might provide a bit of familiar comfort in an otherwise tumultuous time.
Drawing supplies are good for kids to use on their own or with a sibling or the rest of the family.
Although some might turn their noses up at keeping essential oils in your home emergency kit, I think it's a great idea. We all love the smell of lavender and it might be just the thing we need to help lift our spirits.
Also, since there won't be full showers, it might be a great way to not smell stinky bodies.
Games and puzzles will help pass the time. Even though I hate playing games, I would totally play one if I was trying my hardest to keep my kids from feeling too stressed out about what we were going through.
A stuffed animal can brighten my youngest son's day the way nothing else can. Whether you keep an old stuffed animal that you told him you were donating or have a brand new one as a surprise, a stuffed animal might just be the perfect thing that your child needs in that moment.
Ready-Made Kits you Can Buy
- 4 person Premium Family Survival Kit
- Mountain House Food Bucket
- Ready America 4 Person Kit (I have this one for the house and our car)
Pin these Items for Your Emergency Preparedness Kit for Later
These emergency supplies will have your home ready in case of a natural disaster. I know it's not something that we really want to think about. But it's so important to be ready! Having a kit helps me to breathe a little easier knowing that my family will have what they need.