Putting together a so called basic emergency kit (and/or being sure that you have the essentials) is a simple and responsible thing to do. What goes into a ‘basic’ survival kit for home? Items that are purposed towards the most common or likely disaster that could occur in your own geographical area which will enable you to better deal with the follow-on consequences for a relatively short period of time (most emergencies are over within hours or days).

The basic emergency kit to keep at home might include the following items as a minimal recommendation:

Let me reiterate — while there is not a so called ‘best’ list of items (there are personal preferences, circumstances and scenarios), the following items come to mind when thinking about a minimal set of suggestions for those getting started with preparedness at home.

Note that there are quite a number of articles here which touch upon a ‘Survival Kit’, ‘Emergency Kit’, as well as many articles which contain ‘Lists’ that might be of interest…

The basics (geared towards at home), and although some or all of this you might already have (good!), maybe some of you don’t…

Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking, cooking, sanitation — but you’ll need more for toilet flushing if your well pump is ‘down’ (as described here).

Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. (3 days food is ridiculously easy – so set a goal of acquiring at least 3 weeks.)

Battery-powered radio to keep you in touch with unfolding news and information (think ‘power outage’ and you’ll need ‘portable’ battery powered comms).

NOAA Weather Radio (Public Alert) with extra batteries for both — particularly if you live along the East coast (hurricanes) or if you live where tornadoes or severe t-storms may frequent.

Flashlight (an LED flashlight for longer life) and extra batteries (Best Rechargeable Batteries)

First Aid Kit (Best First Aid Kit). Not everyone has an adequate kit, or any at all. Check your First Aid supplies for at least the basics.

Whistle — to signal for help if needed. (Buried in rubble following house collapse – Tornado, Hurricane, or Earthquake?) Although if you’re already trapped and it’s out of reach – it won’t do much good. Maybe leave it (and your other kit ‘stuff’) in a designated safe room…

Heavy Duty Garbage Bags for personal sanitation. Although nearly everyone has trash bags already, if you’re out of power for days, extra garbage bags (heavy duty) will accommodate lots of things.

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (there are specialty tools for this purpose)

Manual can opener for canned food. Most people probably already have one – but double-check.

Portable stand-alone battery charger for cell phone (towers are often still ‘up’ and running during disaster – even through typical power outage – but you’ll need to charge your phones…)

Portable cooking stove. (Cooking without electricity). A camp stove will serve you while you’re without power.

What else could we add to this list for basic items at home?


There are SO MANY ITEMS that continue to come to mind – even for a BASIC minimal kit, but I’ll stop here and welcome your own ideas for a very basic kit (lets not go ‘overboard’ on this one – keep it simple but practical and useful).

Once you’ve established the basics,  use your imagination and add to it! Trust me… even a very ‘basic’ list could get long very quickly!

Think about how you would get through the day(s) during a short term emergency. What items might you need? What time of year is it and does that make a difference for you? You will quickly realize that there are many additional items that could assist you following a disaster.

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