Building a home Emergency Kit

Emergencies can happen at any time, to anyone. Being prepared does not mean you have to become a prepper. Having a basic kit on hand will lessen your stress during emergencies. What a kit contains can vary based on where you live and what natural disasters your area is prone to. Whether you buy an emergency bag or build your own, having this in your home can make a difference when an emergency happens. Building a home emergency kit is a good investment.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that should you make a purchase after following one of these links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Building a home emergency kit

For where we live, the biggest emergency threat is forest fires. Our fire season can start in April and generally goes into June. However, depending on the year, forest fires can occur much later in the summer. We have been very lucky, in the time we have lived here there has never been a major fire near us. Two years ago, we had two small fires that were within forty kilometers of the town. This may seem far away, but with the right conditions, a fire can quickly spread.

Emergency kit basics

Knowing what to put in an emergency can be a challenge. There are plenty of different sources online that will give you a list of what you need. No matter what, there are a number of basic items that you need to include in your kit. The following is what our family has in our kit currently.

Water

By far the most important thing to include is water. It is recommended to have 4 liters (1 gallon) of water per person, per day. This covers drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Make sure to include your pet’s water as well. For our family, there are four of us – and that includes our dog. This means we need 64 liters (17 gallons) of water for a three-day kit.  That’s a lot of water and can be a challenge to store. I actually need to store more, as our current kit only contains half of that. Likely the dog won’t need 4 liters a day, however, there is nothing wrong with having some extra water. Sturdy water containers are excellent for this emergency supply.

Food

Having a couple of edible items in your emergency kit is a good idea. Ensure these foods are easy to prepare and are not expired. Items such as granola bars, cans of tuna, jerky, and other dried foods work well. There are also a number of long-term foods to be purchased if you are looking for something else to add.

First Aid Kit

The second most important item to include. Injuries can happen any day, however, they are more likely to happen during an emergency. We also included a first aid manual. There is a large variety of first aid kits available, from basic kits to deluxe ones.

Blanket

No matter the climate, having a blanket is a good idea. It can help keep you warm. Give you a clean place to sit. It can even be used to transport items.

Candles & Matches

Power is often lost during emergencies. Having a few candles, matches and a lighter, can help to provide illumination.

Flashlight

Another handy thing to have for when the power is out. A hand crank flashlight is a good option, as it does not require batteries

Batteries

If you include anything in your kit that requires batteries, you need to also include extra batteries.

Gloves

A pair of work gloves is important. There may be broken glass. Perhaps your vehicle’s tire needs changing as you drive to a safe location. You may need to pick up something hot. Work gloves will keep your hands clean and safe.

The Extras

  • Tissues or paper towels. These can be great for cleaning up small messes. They can be used as toilet paper. Maybe an emergency happens during the flu season. I made sure to make room in our kit for this.
  • Bathroom Items. Include a small pouch that includes some basic bathroom items. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Travel-sized shampoo and soap, for sanitation purposes. A hairbrush, with several elastics for long hair. These elastics can have other uses as well. In addition some band-aids, an ACE bandage, some gauze pads, and medical tape, and ointment.
  • Tools. Things may need repairs. This is why I included a multi-tool in our kit. That way if we need a screwdriver or a small blade, there is one within easy reach. Be sure it is a good quality multitool.
  • Dust Masks. Depending on the emergency, there may be dust or smoke. Having dust masks will help prevent inhaling those.
  • Can Opener. An emergency kit will likely contain canned goods. So a manual can opener is a must.
  • Spare Shoe Laces. Shoelaces can break, so having an extra set is a good idea. This can also be used for tying up small items.
  • Rope. There are a million and one uses for rope. It made sense to include some in our kit.
  • Sanitary Pads. Sanitary pads are a must-have item if you have any women in your home. Another alternative is a Diva cup.
  • Duct Tape. This can be used for repairs. It can help in a first aid situation. It can even seal doors to prevent smoke, ash or dust from coming into the house.
  • Playing Cards. I made sure to include this as a means of entertainment.
  • Towel. Great for cleaning up a spill or drying off something wet.
  • Notebook & Pens. These are handy to have in any situation.
  • Toilet Paper. A generally overlooked item. You never know where you will end up, so having this in your kit can be handy. You don’t have to have a ton either, just a single roll will do.

Other things to consider

While having a basic emergency kit that includes the above items is good, there are other items that you should consider adding.

  • Make your kit mobile. Depending on the situation, you may need to leave your home. It’s important to ensure that your kit is mobile. A hiking backpack is a great option for this.
  • Important Documents. This includes insurance papers, identification papers, important contacts and copies of prescriptions.
  • Money. Having some cash on hand is also a good idea. ATMs may not function during an emergency.
  • Clothes. Having at least one change of clothes per person is a good idea. To reduce the size of the clothes, consider using a vacuum seal clothes bag. Make sure you update these clothes to reflect the season. Having one set of winter clothes and one set of summer clothes works well.
  • Radio. Having a radio allows you to receive updates on the emergency situation. This way, you will know if an evacuation notice or other important notice has been announced. The best option is to have a crank radio, this way you can receive a single even if your home has no power.
  • Pets. If you have pets then you need to ensure that you include items for them in your emergency kit. Include a few days worth of food for them and a collapsible food bowl. A collar and leash are also important. Lastly, a copy of their vaccine records.

Do you have an emergency kit? If not, now is the perfect time to start creating one. Or perhaps checking and updating your existing one.

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I live in South Louisiana. Having an emergency kit ready for hurricane season is essential! Although we have a warning, you never know what you are coming home to afterward. Thank you for this!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Yes, having an emergency kit when living in a hurricane area is a must. That’s true as well. But if you have things ready ahead of time, you should be prepared to tackle what you find. Is there anything special you include in your kit?

  2. Avatar

    I blog about several topics, including emergency preparedness. This emergency kit is great- so important for everyone to have one!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. I know we have some improvements to make to it, but I’m happy with what we have so far. I agree, everyone should have an emergency kit.

  3. Avatar
    Author

    Glad to hear I gave you some inspiration for you own kit. Having the basics is great, but sometimes these extra items are also needed. Plus everyone’s situation is unique, so adding different items is worthwhile.

  4. Avatar

    I am such a worrier and having an emergency kit is something I have never thought of! It can give you a small amount of piece of mind in an emergency just knowing that you have basics that you need. Great post!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’m also a big worrier, so having this emergency kit lessens the worry just a bit. I still worry about the “ifs” of emergencies happening, but at least I’m somewhat prepared. I hope I have inspired you to make your own emergency kit. And remember you can add whatever you need to is, since everyone’s needs are different.

  5. Avatar

    This is a really great kit! There are some items in here that I didn’t think about but definitely need to add!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Glad this proved helpful to you. It’s easy to think of the basics, it’s the stuff beyond those that can be a challenge to think of – at least until you find yourself in need of them.

  6. Avatar

    This is a great starter kit! I live in Texas and hurricanes and even just heavy rain events happen every year. Being prepared is key to survival. We have a separate bag for kid entertainment. You don’t realize how quickly they get bored once the electricity goes out. ha!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I would imagine you use yours quite regularly. We have never had to use ours yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there just in case. Having a separate bag for kids entertainment is a great idea. Heck, even I can get bored pretty quickly when there is no power.

  7. Avatar

    Great ideas. Being prepared helps me feel less anxious. I have backpacks for each kid and a pack that fits my dog. My bag carries most of the load, but each kid has a whistle, food, and other necessary items.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      That sounds like a great way to break up the emergency supplies. It definitely gives me peace of mind to know I have an emergency kit now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *