18 Emergency Supplies to Have at Home

A red life ring hanging against wood siding.

Emergencies can strike at any time. From natural disasters to man-made catastrophes, it's impossible to predict what kind of emergency might hit your home. Fortunately, there are a number of supplies that will see you safely through any disaster, especially when access to a nearby store is blocked. By stocking up on these items, you will be prepared for anything that might occur in the near future.

1. Water

Water is the most important item to have on hand in case of an emergency. You should keep at least one gallon of water for each person in your home, per day of a potential emergency (for instance, if you want to keep supplies on hand for a week's worth of time, you would have 7 gallons of water per person for that week). This adequately covers drinking as well as washing.

2. Food

Aside from water, food is the second priority on the list. When storing food for an emergency, choose products that are non-perishable and easy to prepare.

3. Light Sources

Multiple types of light will come in handy if the electricity goes out. Flashlights and candles should be kept on hand, along with a store of batteries and matches. For long-lasting use, consider buying emergency candles, which typically last several days before burning out.

4. Blankets

A stack of knitted blankets.

Disasters can hit at any time of the year. If the power suddenly goes out in the winter, then a healthy amount of blankets could save your life, especially in a prolonged emergency situation. A handful of blankets for each person in the house should suffice.

5. Radio

A radio will give you updates on the emergency situation and let you know when it's safe to leave your home. Purchase a hand crank radio to avoid using batteries.

6. Utensils and Plates

You never know how long an emergency might last. Keep a share of reusable plates, cups, and utensils on hand for longer stays. Plastic plates and utensils are a great option because they are easy to store and clean.

7. Survival Knife

A good survival knife will include all the tools you might need in an emergency situation. This includes a cutting blade, screwdriver, can opener, saw, and other accessories.

8. Cell Phone Chargers

Four different white phone chargers.

When emergencies strike out of nowhere, it can be difficult to remember to bring you cell phone charger with you. To remedy this, simply keep backup chargers for all your electronic devices in your supply kit.

9. First Aid Kit

No stockpile of emergency supplies is complete without a good first aid kit. When it comes to buying a kit, consider ones you can hand-stock to ensure you have plenty of items you need in case of injury.

10. Bathroom Supplies

Whenever emergencies last longer than a few hours, a good supply of bathroom necessities is critical. This includes toilet paper, trash bags, feminine products, personal hygiene items, and soap.

11. Change of Clothes

Emergencies can last from several hours to days. In order to stay as fresh and clean as possible, consider adding at least one change of clothes for each family member, including a pair of backup shoes. A good practice is to store the clothes in good hiking backpacks, which might become useful later.

12. Maps

A map and compass.

Disasters often make navigating difficult, even in familiar territory. Keep a map of your local area with your supplies, along with a compass, to make navigating easier.

13. Towels

A stack of towels will come in handy in case of any spills or accidents. A good all-purpose cleaner is also recommended, along with garbage bags.

14. Medication

If any member of the family requires daily medication, then make sure to include at least a seven-day supply in your kit. Furthermore, it's a good idea to keep other daily medications on hand, including aspirin, allergy pills, and anything else your family uses regularly.

15. Money

Having cash on hand during an emergency might prove vital in keeping your family safe. Depending on the type of disaster, your local bank might not be available. In these situations, whatever cash you have on hand might be your only source of money for days.

16. Pet Supplies

A jar of pet food.

If you own pets, then keep some extra food and water on hand. Also, make sure to include dishes to hold the food and water, as well as any dog collars or leashes.

17. Bleach

Bleach has a variety of properties that make it very useful in emergencies. Not only can it sanitize and clean, but it can also purify water.

18. Entertainment

At the end of the day, your sanity is just as important as keeping safe in times of emergency. To prevent family members from getting on each other’s nerves, keep a good book or a favorite magazine on hand.