15 essential items for every home emergency kit
Essential supplies every home should have just in case the unexpected happens
When the unthinkable happens, fortune will always favor the prepared. We’ve taken our ques from the American Red Cross to provide you with a list of essential items for your home emergency kits. We love these products so much, we want to share them to the world, and we may earn affiliate commission if you find them as essential as we do.
RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio
When disaster strikes, the old methods of receiving information might be all you have. The American Red Cross classifies the RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio, with access to NOAA weather (for if you live in a hurricane, flood, snow, or tornado zone, so basically everywhere) as a must.
This radio can also be charged in four (count ’em!) different ways, has a flashlight, and it can charge your cell phone.
Customer review: “I have had other NOAA weather radios in the past, but this little guy is THE BEST EVER!!! It powers with solar, or batteries or crank. It picks up AM and FM very clear for a small radio. The NOAA weather channel comes in nice and clear as well.” – Deb Kaye
Flashlights, for everyone
Flashlights for everyone are absolutely necessary if self-reliance is important to you and your family. These Evelots Handcrank Flashlights have two powerful LED lights that don’t require batteries, or the sun, and actually store excess energy.
The wrist band is a nice touch, and this crank flashlight doesn’t require you to constantly crank it to keep the flashlight lit.
Customer review: “The crank works fine. Has a switch to lock the crank up, and another to turn on the light with stored electricity which makes it FAR better than ones you have to crank to keep illuminated.” – K. E. Wilson
Even if you’ve stocked up on solar or hand cranked power, you’ll still need old school batteries for two-way radios, remote controls, and coffee grinders, to name just a few items.
You’ll also need batteries, and Duracell Optimums Batteries are the longest lasting we could find. Focus on AAs and AAAs, and bigger D cells for those battery powered lanterns.
Customer review: “I wouldn’t use these in something that the kids are just going to run down and forget about like a run-of-the-mill RC toy or something like that. But for things that matter to me, like the front door home automation lock, or a remote that I use a lot, I like to have a good battery like the Duracell Optimum battery so I know that I can count on it to last.” – Tom Steele
Deluxe family first aid kit
You can bet the American Red Cross included a deluxe first-aid kit in their list of essential items in your home emergency kit. They also list it as important for your “on the go” emergency kit too.
This All Purpose First Aid Kit has 299 different pieces, enabling treatment for just about anything that comes up.
Customer review: “All in all, if you’re looking for a portable first aid kit that is easily accessible, this is a great choice. It fits nicely in a large compartment of a backpack (where I keep mine), a large purse, or you could fit it in the glove box of most vehicles.” – Kyle T.
Victorinox Swiss Army multi-tool
Wouldn’t life be grand if you could carry scissors, a screw driver, a bottle opener, and a knife, all at the same time? Well, in a pinch, asking you to wear a construction worker’s tool-belt is probably too much of a stretch.
We recommend this Victorinox Swiss Army multi-tool with 33 different uses. It also fits in your pocket, so if you want to wear a belt, it can just be a regular one.
Customer review: “I’ve used all the tools, so many times each, and I never leave home without it. The amount I’ve accomplished with this tool is just astounding. The small size of some of the tools–such as the pliers–is often an advantage. They are so fine that they significantly out-needle-nose regular needle-nose pliers, and can do things that no other pliers can.” – Lilheart17
Cell phone chargers
It goes without saying that cell phone chargers need to be included in your home emergency kit. There’s a couple of ways to go on this one, but we landed on these Yootech Wireless Chargers that will give power to just about every phone on the market.
We’d call it the Swiss Army knife of chargers if we could. The upright docking also makes it ideal for watching videos on your phone.
Emergency thermal blankets
There’s an old saying in America: “If it’s good enough for NASA then it’s good enough for me.”
Well, if there isn’t such a saying there should be one. And in this case we’re talking about Swiss Safe Emergency Thermal Blankets, which have several uses, including keeping you and your family warm, or even constructing a makeshift shelter.
Customer review: “What I didn’t realize when I purchased them is you can cut them to size. i.e. boots, shoes, jackets whatever is needed for added warmth which is explained with supplied info description in the package.” – Spoken Truth
Fresh water filter
Keeping a supply of fresh water is a great idea if you have the storage space. But even if you do have the space, keeping a Lifestraw Go Water Filter Bottle in your emergency kit is a good idea.
This filter is an on-the-go water bottle, enabling you constantly replenish your water supply while at home, or if you’re on the move.
Customer review: I have just come back from travelling around Cambodia and Vietnam for 2 months and used this for my entire journey. I DID NOT GET ILL. Not once.” – Miss E M Mathieson
More and more Americans are taking prescription pills, or daily vitamins. Since this is a daily occurrence, and in most cases, it’s multiple times a day, then you’ll need a to-go case that’s both functional, and durable.
These Pill Pro medications cases have four compartments for each day, to help with proper dosages.
Customer review: “This pill organizer definitely helps me to remember to take them at their designated times. I sort my pills at the beginning of each week, so even if I’m in a hurry, I can just grab the designated day and go. Each organizer has four compartments – morning, noon, evening, and bedtime.” – Nia Tortilla
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
You can go ahead and pack dish soap, hand soap, facial wash, shampoo, and laundry detergent in your emergency kit, or you can get Sierra Dawn Campsuds all purpose cleaner instead.
When it comes to emergencies and survival, often times less is more. And this environmentally friendly soap cleans everything.
Customer review: “I tested both of these soaps by using a 2 oz bottle and showering, shaving, and shampooing until they were used up. I also tested these by cleaning three identical glasses smeared with sausage grease, using three new sponges and cold water.” – Greg
In an emergency situation, you might be faced with the reality of losing the use of your major appliances. That would make it awfully difficult to cook, or keep yourself warm.
Coghlan’s Waterproof Matches are ideal for getting that fire going in a pinch, and in situations where fire has no business igniting.
Customer review: “This is admittedly my first purchase of this brand of matches on Amazon. However I have used them in the past and had absolutely no issues with them.” – Tim Scrage
Meals Ready to Eat (MREs)
MREs are an absolute must for soldiers, backpackers, and emergency survival kits. We’d all like filet mignon when an emergency arises, but since that’s crazy talk, we recommend Mountain House MREs, which only require boiling water to cook.
Buy your favorite meals in bulk, and then forget about it, as the taste is guaranteed for 30 years.
Customer review: “So good I could almost imagine making this an a lazy sunday at home instead of only out while backpacking. This tastes like a cut up steak dish that you could make with fresh steak from the store and fresh cut peppers” – Friendly redwood
Two-way walkie talkies
Finding your way around in the dark, or an unfamiliar area, will require some help with communication, especially if your cell phone network is down.
The Motorola Talkabout Walkie Talkies have been the go-to choice for emergency kits for decades now, as they’re simple to use, have at least a 15-mile range, and are reliable in a sticky situation.
Customer review: “they’re compact, have great battery life and work fairly seamlessly. They’re small and simple enough for my kids to use, and they have a lot of fun with it.” – Trent Steele
Roll of heavy duty duct tape
“If it’s good enough for NASA, then it’s good enough for me.” Remember when we said that? Well, that sort of applies here, except this Gaffer Power PowerSteele Heavy Duty Duct Tape is good enough for the star ship Enterprise.
Duct tape will come in handy for tears in fabric, organization, fixing tools, and a ton of other applications. This stuff will stick and hold to just about anything.
Customer review: “Lives up to its billing. This is easily the best duct tape I have ever used. It is very strong, and it should adhere to just about anything. It is so sticky that you really have to pull to get it off the roll.” – Westlake
Board games for the kids and the family
Even in an emergency situation, life goes on, and you’ll need some entertainment for yourself, and your family. This KAILE 3 in 1 Game Set includes chess, checkers, and backgammon.
It’s also super heavy duty, as reviewers rave about how the magnets are strong, and dropping it doesn’t do any damage.
Customer review: “The entire thing looks cheep and isn’t at all pretty but that’s not why you get it. You get it because it bloody works.
uneven ground, no problem. Your psychotic <1 year old puppy jumps all over you just to say hi… no problem. The peaces stay there. The latch when you close it is strong as well. Get it.” – Jason Stoll