These 30 emergency supply categories make a good starting point for a generic survival kit for typical family safety at home.
This list of supplies is geared towards practical preparedness for home, to be better prepared for general emergency.
This is not a SHTF list.
While there are just as many lists out there as there are opinions, rather than going overboard and in-depth with all sorts of emergency-disaster-SHTF scenarios, this list may be useful for those who are just starting out at home and would like to read a list of things/ categories of items that they might want to consider setting aside for an emergency…
The hope here is to simply provide ideas and to inspire your own thought.
In no particular order,
Battery operated portable radio
Essential to get information about the emergency and following the disaster. A small AM/FM shortwave radio is adequate for this.
Battery operated LED flashlight
Get several; and get one of those that strap to your head (LED headlamp) for keeping both your hands free to do other things. I recently wrote this article on a ‘best’ flashlight.
Extra batteries for your flashlights and portable radio. Check the sizes. Look for ‘Lithium’ replacement batteries which last longer and have a longer shelf life. The most common consumer battery size is ‘AA’.
First aid kit
Get yourself a generic fist aid kit for home. Consider adding things like chemical cold packs, ace bandage, and other commonly used first aid items which may not be in your particular kit.
A meds list with the name of each drug plus the name and number of the physician who prescribed it may be useful in an emergency where someone in the family needs it.
Keep several fire extinguishers around the home. One in the kitchen and each bedroom near the beds at minimum. ABC rated fire extinguishers are a good all around choice. I believe that I have one in nearly every room of the house here…
Blanket or sleeping bag
Have one for each member of the family, not including your existing bed. If the power (heat) goes out in the winter, you will need to bundle up in order to sleep comfortably. You’ll need more than just your light weight blankets. Earlier, I wrote this article on the warmest survival blanket.
Watch or battery operated clock
Don’t rely on just your cell/smartphone for the time, keep a watch or clock too. Knowing or tracking time could be useful in an emergency.
Figure that each adult needs at least a half gallon of water per day for drinking and another half gallon a day for sanitation (minimum). Bottled water is useful in that it’s easy to manage and dole out in useful quantities. If you had to bug-out you could keep a quantity in your backpack. They’re easier than the big jugs for a generic source of water for a short term situation. Having said that, you might also consider keeping larger quantities at home in specific water storage containers.
Foods that will keep for awhile, with a relatively long shelf life. Canned food does not necessarily have to be cooked (It’s perfectly safe to eat it cold). Get a variety of canned foods that your family normally eats and likes. Think ‘balance’, diversification, and include proteins (canned meats, beans), vegetables (canned ‘whatever you like’), and fruits (canned fruits will provide a sweet desert, a comfort in time of disaster). Include other foods that don’t have to be cooked. Ideas include high-calorie food/energy bars. MRE’s. Snacks. Nuts. Chocolate and candy for an energy burst. The point is, set aside a quantity of food for at least a 72-hour short term survival period. It’s simple to add more as you wish.
Manual can opener
Don’t count on your electric can opener. A must-have is at least one decent manual can opener in the house.
This is it’s own line-item in case there is a baby in the house. Baby food and/or formula and disposable diapers, etc.
Again, its own line-item in case you have one (or more) pets. Don’t forget about preparedness for your pets! Leash. Collar. Food. Etc..
A small portable gas or propane cook stove will leverage the other foods you may have at home which require cooking. It will also assist in boiling water for purification if necessary. I wrote this article about cooking without electricity.
Supplies for your windows
Hurricane preparedness. Tape for taping windows; supplies for boarding up windows and doors.
Paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils
Light weight, disposable, and better than eating out of the can with your fingers…
Stainless steel cup, cooking container
A steel cup or container for boiling water for purification.
Not only for regular trash, but also serves a sanitary purpose for a make-shift toilet, and many other uses (rain poncho, tarp, etc.)
A tarp and/or plastic sheeting could become very useful for a makeshift shelter if needed, and provide a layer of protection form the elements.
Rope, cord, paracord… essential for lashing, tying, holding, fastening, etc.
Need I explain it? This is one consumable that I have been sure to stock PLENTY 😉
(e.g. ‘baby wipes’) Handy for sanitation, cleaning a dirty wound area, etc.
Personal care items
A toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. will help you maintain personal hygiene during this time.
Keep at least a set of clean clothes (and socks, underwear) set aside in your generic home kit (also a good idea for a vehicle kit). Consider the seasons and climate of your region. Sneakers and/or sturdy hiking shoes in case you have to walk far or work in an environment where you need extra protection for your feet.
You may need fire (boil water, cook food, heat, etc.) Keep these in a ziploc bag. Consider adding a magnesium firestarter (practice with it once or twice first…)
Pencil and paper
For remembering things. For documenting things. For leaving a note for someone else. Etc.
A sharp knife
A thousand uses for a cutting tool…
A few essential tools will accomplish many tasks. A multi-screwdriver and wrenches. A multitool like a Leatherman. A special emergency wrench for your home’s gas and water shutoff. Cutters. Etc.
Chances are that you will greatly benefit from having work gloves in a emergency environment. Set a pair aside for each member of the family.
If you have to bug-out, an ordinary backpack will be essential to bring along some of your supplies like some water, food, and other survival gear.
In summary, in the kit for home you will need food, water, and gear. I could have easily turned this into a list of 40, 50, 100 or more, but I hope this inspires some thought for those who are just starting to think about having a few supplies set aside for emergency. Browse through this website (and others) to get more ideas!
Note: Keep your supplies in a cool dry place, and check them periodically to make sure that the food is still good, and that the batteries still work. A garbage can with a tight lid makes a good container – it is watertight, can be moved easily, and is itself useful in a disaster. You might also consider plastic bins.