Emergency supplies you need to have at home (no matter what)

Can you imagine several days without electricity? Or running water? Or even…even internet (oh my)?!

Going days without the internet probably isn’t as big a deal as it seems. But going days without power or running water would be challenging, at the very least.

Most of us are fortunate enough to have never experienced extended periods without power or water. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It’s always better to prepare than get caught off guard if an emergency were to happen.

The type of emergency you prepare for depends on where you live. For example, here in Iowa, not having heat when you’re in the middle of a polar vortex could be life-threatening. No matter if you face snow, flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, or hurricanes it’s always best to be ready.

There are some basic supplies you need to have at home that will help in most emergencies. You don’t have to have a bunker full of supplies, but being prepared with the basics for a few days is worthwhile.

Emergency supplies you need to have at home (no matter what)

Supplies everyone should have at home

Food and water. Have a three-day supply of food and water for each person in your home, at the very least. The Red Cross recommends having a full two week supply.

Keep non-perishable food, such as canned and dried foods available. (Remember if you have cans you need a can opener).

Keep one gallon of water per person, per day.

Battery-powered or hand-crank radio. When there’s no power – and no internet – you need to be able to get information on weather and other relevant information. An NOAA Weather Radio is best, as it has emergency alerts and local emergency information.

Flashlights and/or headlamps. And make sure you have extra batteries on hand! Hand crank flashlights that don’t require batteries are available. If you want to be even more prepared, consider having a fuel lantern (but don’t forget the matches!).

Emergency first aid kit. You can buy first aid kits with everything you need. Just be sure to check and replace items regularly, as some items expire and/or become useless after a while.

Cell phone chargers and extra battery pack. We rely on our phones for, well, everything. If you don’t have electricity, you want to have a way to keep your phone charged. Keep a portable cell phone power bank on hand to charge your phone without electricity (they’re small and reasonably priced). Go a step further and get a solar charger to ensure you can charge your phone in (almost) any situation.

Any special supplies for the members of your household. If you have a baby, young children, elderly individuals, or pets living in your home, you need to prepare for their needs too. Think through their daily needs and stock up so you can take care of them in an emergency. (Think about medications, diapers, special food, etc.).

And more…There are more items you could need in case of an emergency. Keep the following things on hand at home:

  • Personal hygiene supplies (including moist towelettes)
  • Medications
  • Can opener
  • Cash
  • Extra batteries
  • Dust or surgical masks
  • Garbage bags
  • Wrench and other tools
  • Candles and matches
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Scissors
  • Whistle
  • Copies of important info (such as insurance, birth certificates, prescription meds)
  • List of phone numbers (doctors, family members, etc.)
  • Baby supplies (if you have a baby, do you have diapers? wipes? formula?)
  • Pet food
  • Duct tape
  • Maps
  • Multi-tool
  • Bleach
  • Fun stuff (like games and toys)

Cold weather supplies

Those of us living in cold weather climates know how easily we can get snowed in and lose power in the winter. We need to keep a few other items on hand (and in our cars) in case an emergency strikes when temps are dangerously low.

If you live in a cold-weather climate, besides the list above, keep the following at home in case of an emergency:

  • Blankets (mylar emergency blankets are small and portable)
  • Waterproof, insulated gloves
  • Extra socks (wool and other cold-weather socks work well)
  • Thermal layer of clothing
  • Winter hats

For more information on how to prepare your home and your family for every type of emergency, check out Ready.gov and the Red Cross.


Are you selling or buying a home? The process can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. At Coluzzi Real Estate, we answer all your questions and simplify the process. We’re here for you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


About the Author:

Amanda has lived in the Des Moines area since 1999, where she and her husband have bought and sold a handful of homes over the years, including a recent flip. Amanda enjoys writing, obsesses about personal finance and is fond of looking at houses. She loves sharing useful tips and info to make life easier for anyone wanting to buy or sell a home. In her spare time, Amanda cherishes time with her family, volunteers with IHYC, gardens, hikes, and practices TaeKwonDo. You can read more of her writing at whywemoney.com