7 Must-Have Supplies You Need For Any Emergency

Disasters, pandemic illnesses, and other major issues can majorly disrupt society and community resources at any time.

It may seem like civilization in the 21st century is far removed from historic disasters, but that simply isn’t the case.

Natural disasters such as
hurricanes, contagious diseases, nuclear disasters, or even everyday power
outages are realistic threats, so it’s important that you prepare and stockpile
supplies in case of an emergency. So, it’s critical that you design an
emergency plan and gather the necessary supplies to prepare you for any

What Type of Emergency Kit Should I Prepare?

The American Red Cross recommends that you create two different kits. One kit should be for home-use, and the other should be a mobile kit that you can carry on-the-go.

For the home kit, you can use a large Rubbermaid plastic tote and fill it with the basic supplies and the critical survival gear your family needs to survive. You can also create more than one home kit, depending on the space you have at home. Your Go Bag or Bug Out Bag should be in a duffle bag or tactical backpack.

There are some must-have items
that should go in both kits. Here’s a list of necessary supplies for your
survival kits.

Non-Perishable Food

Your emergency kit should include
enough non-perishable food for at least three days. Non-perishable items
include canned and freeze-dried food as well as snacks like nuts, jerky, or
protein bars. Your kit should include foods that you don’t need to cook.

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are
good, shelf-stable food items to keep on hand. It’s the same food that the
military gives soldiers during field exercises. You just add water to the MREs
before you eat them. There are also high-quality emergency freeze-dried meals
that are like the regular foods you eat at home, such as chicken and noodles,
lasagna, beef stew, scrambled eggs and bacon, and more.

There are plenty of non-perishable
food options available today. Make sure you bring a can opener as well. It
would be horrible to realize that you have no way to get into the food you


Water is one of the most important
things on your list since you can’t survive much longer than a few days without
it. Your kits need enough water for each family member every day. Generally,
that’s one gallon of water per person. If you’re on-the-go, it’s difficult to
carry that much water, so you should also carry a way to purify and filter
water. Water filters or purification methods allow you to drink the water you
find in streams or rivers along the way.


A flashlight is critical for most
disasters, including power outages. It’s a good idea to pack more than one. At
least one of those flashlights should be one that doesn’t need batteries. You
can purchase a solar-powered, hand-crank flashlight for a reasonable price
without relying on battery or electrical power.

There are many great tactical
flashlights that are durable and can take a beating. You can also pack other
types of lights such as headlamps and wrist lamps as well as lanterns.


Add batteries to your stockpile to
run important electronics. Many batteries have a shelf-life of up to 10 years
with no leaking or corrosion. Make sure you have the right sizes for all the
devices you want to power.

Hand-Cranked or Battery-Operated Radio

In a disaster situation, you need to have access to emergency broadcasts, and the easiest way to do that is an emergency radio. Some efficient radios can be charged multiple ways, such as a power bank, batteries, solar, or hand-crank, to make sure it always works. Some even have USB ports for charging smartphones and other electronics.

First Aid Kit

Another critical item to include in your survival kit is a basic first aid kit. You can buy a pre-made kit or build your own. Whichever choice you make, your kit should include certain first aid necessities as well as the items unique to your family, such as prescription medications.

Here are some important additional
supplies to include as needed in your survival kit:

  • A whistle
    or flares to signal for help
  • Tools like
    pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, or multi-tools
  • Dust masks
    in case of contaminated air
  • Duct tape
    and plastic sheeting to shelter in place wherever you are
  • Local maps
    and a compass
  • Plastic
    ties, garbage bags, moist towelettes, and feminine supplies for sanitation
  • Cellphone
    with a solar or battery-powered charger
  • Cash
  • Emergency
    and family contacts
  • Critical
    personal papers such as passports, insurance policies, medication list, proof
    of address, and more
  • Contacts,
    contact supplies, and eyeglasses
  • Non-prescription
    medication such as antacids, laxatives, pain relievers, etc.
  • Prescription
  • Pet
    supplies and water
  • Supplies
    for infants like wipes and diapers
  • Sleeping
    bags and/or emergency blankets plus extra blankets and hand and footwarmers for
    cold weather conditions
  • Tent
  • Medicine
    dropper and unscented bleach to treat water
  • A change of
    clothes for each person in your family
  • Matches
    stored in a waterproof container
  • Life raft
    for areas that flood
  • Fire

Emergency brochures and lists from ready.gov can also help you prepare for emergencies and stockpile the right supplies. Ready.gov has brochures for the following:

  • Family
    Emergency Plan
  • Pet Owners
  • Emergency
    Supply List
  • Seniors
  • General
  • People with
  • Insurance
    Discussion Coverage Form
  • Emergency
    Response Plan and Resources
  • Commuter
    Emergency Plan
  • Risk
    Assessment Table
  • Ready
    Business Mentoring Guide
  • Program
    Coordinator Committee Worksheet

can also buy premade emergency kits that come with almost anything you need,
and then you can personalize them by adding the things your family needs. It’s
usually better and more cost-effective because you can add items over time.
Pre-made kits can be expensive, and then you must spend more money to make sure
they have everything your family needs.

Obviously, if you’re packing a Go
Bag, you are limited to the number of supplies you can take with you. You’ll
have to narrow it down to the bare necessities. This list will help you gather
and stockpile the items you need so you can help your family survive during a
disaster or crisis.