Amazon’s 10 Top-Rated Items for Your Home Emergency Kit
From hurricanes to fires, floods, earthquakes, and Covid-19, these are the best must-have items you'll need a home emergency kit.
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Essentials for a home emergency kit
Many people learn after an emergency that they could and should have been better prepared. But, it’s easy enough to make sure you have everything you need to either stay at home or leave your home for extended periods of time before disaster strikes. With health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic and weather events that happen one after the other—hurricane season starts June 1—the time to prepare is now. “There are a few different scenarios you may find yourself in when it comes to being prepared,” says Anthony Tornetta, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross. Here are Amazon’s top-rated items for your home emergency preparedness kit:
All-purpose aid kit and contact emergency kit
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recommends that every home have an emergency first-aid kit and that it be kept in a place where everyone can see it. This particular kit contains 156 items. “One of the first things is a home emergency kit,” confirms Maureen Vogel, a spokesperson for the National Safety Council (NSC). “Always keep it on hand if you can’t leave the house for a few days or if things are shut down.” The American Red Cross recommends keeping a second kit in your car.
The kit should include, among other items, pain-relieving, allergy, and cough-and-cold medications, bandages and adhesive tape, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, a thermometer, and aloe vera, advises the ACEP. And don’t forget your own medications, contact lens solution, and other personal items, adds Tornetta. You’ll also want to know these first-aid tricks from ER doctors.
15 in 1 Portable Pocket Multifunctional Multi-Tool
Multipurpose tools eliminate the need for a larger, cumbersome selection of tools, individual items you may not be able to quickly find when you need them most. Ideally, you’ll have a tool that includes pliers, scissors, and a knife and so can perform a variety of tasks. This 15-in-1 tool also has a folding saw, bottle opener, and four types of screwdrivers.
“It’s not a bad thing to have,” says Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director for Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure the tool includes a can opener for the non-perishable dried foods and canned goods in case you need to evacuate—or if you only have an electric option at home and the power goes out. You might also want to invest in these health gadgets that could save your life.
Running Snail Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM NOAA Solar Weather Radio
This is just one of several low-tech items you should have on hand in case a disaster wipes out your higher-tech options. “It seems like it was a generation ago but they’re still relevant,” says Vogel. A working radio can help you keep track of weather events, where they’re headed, how severe they are, and how close they are to you. Ready.gov recommends keeping a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio (included in this product) tuned to a local emergency station. The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a network of radio stations that has continuous coverage for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Pacific Territories, and adjacent waters. This radio also has an LED Flashlight and a 1000mAh power bank to recharge your smartphone.
INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit 112 pieces
An emergency kit for your car may not mean much during a pandemic but it’s a necessity for disasters like hurricanes and fires when you need to get out in a hurry. Your car’s emergency kit should include an inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, tripod jack, jumper cables, reflective triangles, first aid kit, drinking water, and a fire extinguisher, says the NSC. Make sure you check the kit every six months to make sure everything is up to date, the NSC adds.
Cold weather brings another set of challenges. A shovel, snow brush, warm clothing, and blankets are a good addition along with emergency numbers and information for your auto insurance providers. (This is the safest seat in your car.)
LED Tactical Flashlight Portable Handheld Flashlight
A flashlight is another (relatively) low-tech item that can save you during an emergency, especially when the power goes out. Among other things, it will help you stay safe walking around in the dark, says the American Public Health Association (APHA). Have one not only in your home but also in your car, recommends the NSC.
This particular flashlight has an adjustable focus, different strengths. It is also waterproof. Note that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recommends storing batteries in a cool, dry place and away from children and from flammable materials.
Fireproof Money & Document Bag, MoKo
This bag is also waterproof. Having extra cash available is a good idea, says Tornetta. That’s because loss of electricity could render ATM machines and credit-card machines totally useless. Not only will you be able to buy immediate necessities like food, but it’ll enable you to purchase precious gas. Tornetta recommends keeping a full tank of gas or as much as you can afford in your car. Your cash will come in handy for extra fuel if you have to travel long distances. (Small bills are helpful for this type of purchase, says Ready.gov)
You may also want to keep a stash of cash in an emergency savings account, ready.gov advises. Here’s more on putting together an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.
USB Flash Drives Thumb Drive USB 3.0
Having access to important documents including legal documents and medical documents is invaluable both during a disaster and water. This is especially handy when you’re trying to put your life back together again and stress levels tend to be high. One way to store files is on a thumb drive.
“If you’re going to file any kind of claim, you’ll need proof of ownership,” says Schlegelmilch. “Anyone who’s going to write you a check will want some degree of paperwork.” Other important documents include photo ID, social security card, insurance documents (flood, fire, and others), birth certificates, child custody and adoption papers, wills, and powers of attorney. You can also take photos of documents with your smartphone or make photocopies and store them in your emergency preparedness kit, says Tornetta.
Pet First Aid Kit for Dogs & Cats
Any pet emergency kit should also include pet food and pet medications. (This 85-piece kit also includes nail clippers and a trimmer.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that a pet emergency kit include photocopies of vet records (like vaccinations, test results, and prescriptions; microchip information; a two-week supply of food and water for each animal; medications; toys; bedding along with flea, tick, and heartworm medication. Beforehand, make sure your pets have all their tags including current contact information as well as a microchip before anything happens. If you know a disaster is coming your way, you should also check accommodations at local shelters and boarding facilities.
Bullets Playing Cards Waterproof Plastic
Food, water, and other necessities are, obviously, necessary. But equally important are “comfort items,” to help you keep your sanity while you’re away from home or stuck at home. This could be a deck of cards (good for adults and kids), toys, books, or puzzles for your kids, and even a bottle of wine for you. “These items make you feel like home,” says Schlegelmilch. “It’s particularly important to think about kids. The comfort idea will establish sense of normalcy.”
Blankets, closed-toe shoes, extra clothes, candles, and waterproof matches, as well as blankets, will increase your actual comfort, says the CDC.
RAVPower Portable Charger
It’s important to have alternative power supplies in disasters where power can easily go down. This one is compatible with laptops, tablets, smartphones, and almost all USB-powered devices. It’s particularly important to keep your cell phone going. “Cell phones are more reliable than people like to think, especially text messages, which require less bandwidth,” says Schlegelmilch.
Other extra power sources are a car charger for your cell phone and extra batteries (for radios, flashlights, and even hearing aids). The APHA recommends keeping batteries in an obvious place as finding them when the lights are out could be difficult. Solar-powered gadgets can also be helpful during an emergency.
- National Hurricane Center
- Anthony Tornetta, spokesperson, American Red Cross
- American College of Emergency Physicians: "Home First Aid Kit"
- Maureen Vogel, spokesperson, National Safety Council.
- American Red Cross: "Make a First Aid Kit"
- Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York City
- Ready.gov: "Seniors"
- National Weather Service: "NOAA Weather Radio"
- National Safety Council: "What Should You Keep in the Car?"
- American Public Health Association: "Top 10 essential items for your emergency preparedness stockpile.
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services: "All About Batteries"
- Ready.gov: "Financial Preparedness"
- Ready.gov: "Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)"
- Centers for Disease Control and Protection: "Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit"
- Ready.gov: "Build A Kit"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Emergency Supplies for Earthquake Preparedness"