Skip to content

The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies

Emergency-supply checklists are abundant across the internet, but many roundups can be intimidating in their breadth and their specificity. In reality, for the most part you can assemble a basic emergency kit for your home from stuff you may already own. And there’s no such thing as a single kit that’s exactly right for everyone.

“I think we focus too much on there trying to be one right way to prepare,” said Jonathan McNamara, a regional communications manager for the Red Cross. “You should definitely feel free to customize it for your family.”

That said, there are some essentials that everyone should have on hand in a dedicated bin if you need to shelter in place during a disaster. We understand the temptation to pick up a ready-made emergency kit—both the at-home and go-bag varieties—and call it a day. But building your own kit ensures quality control and allows you to customize it to fit your needs.

The items here are organized into six key categories that you can tackle one at a time to make sure you have your bases covered.

For more information on tools and preparedness for specific disaster scenarios, read our guides to hurricane, wildfire, and earthquake preparedness. We also have a guide to building a go bag, should you need to evacuate your home.

Since 2017, this guide has been a collective effort among staff writers and editors who have trained for disaster preparedness. They have put their knowledge to use during natural disasters. And collectively they have logged hundreds of hours of research in this field to come up with a list of essentials that are indispensable in a natural disaster and helpful in everyday life, too.

Staff writer Ellen Airhart has worked on our guides to hurricane, wildfire and earthquake preparedness. For the most recent iteration of this guide, she spoke with eight new experts, including FEMA, Red Cross, and CDC representatives, an architect, and an accessibility advocate.

 For the complete guide, go here

Please check your email to activate your subscription!

A user with this email address has already subscribed