Back to top

Things to Have on Hand in Case of Emergency

Your home is likely full of assorted items. But in an emergency, what items would you need the most? From food to first aid supplies, experts suggest gathering certain essentials — including some items that may be off your radar — and assembling an emergency kit to help you through tough times.

Water and a fist aid kit.

In the event of an emergency, you may find yourself either cooped up at home or needing to evacuate to a different location for several days., a preparation program offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), suggests choosing a portable container, such as a duffel bag or plastic bins, to hold the contents of your emergency kit in case you need to carry it out of your home.

Here's a look at just some of the items you may want to pack in your emergency kit:


The American Red Cross recommends storing at least one gallon of water per person, per day. The organization suggests having at least a three-day supply for an evacuation and a two-week supply for your home. The water may be needed for drinking as well as sanitation, says.


Keep enough nonperishable food for at least three days in your kit, advises. Look for foods that are simple to prepare, such as cans of soup and powdered milk, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests. And don't forget to include a manual can opener, the CDC says.

Other Essentials

A number of other items may come in handy in the event of an emergency. These are some of the items the American Red Cross suggests including in your emergency kit:

  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Batteries
  • One-week supply of medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Cash
  • Multi-purpose tool

Important Documents

Consider storing copies of important documents in your emergency kit, the American Red Cross says. Those may include paperwork showing proof of address, the deed to your home, birth certificates, passports and insurance policies

Pet Supplies

You may want to create a separate emergency kit for your pets, says The kit should include essentials like at least three days' worth of food and water for each pet, medications, first aid supplies, toys and a photo of you with your pet, which may help if you become separated. offers a printable emergency preparation plan for pets.

An emergency situation can throw a wrench in your routine, but with a little advance planning, you and your family may be better prepared to face an unexpected situation. Visit, read the American Red Cross or CDC's online resources or download FEMA's printable emergency supply checklist for more help in creating your emergency kit.

Donate icon.

Every Helping Hand Matters

While there are many ways to help those affected by the recent storms, here are some ways to contribute to relief efforts.

Red Cross Feeding America

Agents are Here to Help Near
ECC Monitor: OK