Buying products on sale for later use is the basis of “stockpiling” the savings. It’s practical for keeping pantry basics on hand, but it’s also a great way to plan ahead for emergencies. Hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, snow, a flu outbreak, or a job layoff can require a small stockpile of basic supplies already on hand to get you through the crisis. What better way to be prepared for whatever weather, financial bumps, or just life in general sends your way than to keep your stockpiled resources ready to go.

It can be frustrating trying to sort through all the emergency websites for check lists and information. While they should still be your top source for immediate information and recommendations, I’ve written a summary compilation of current information, along with some examples from personal experience.

The following is a list of basic supplies to consider in your own emergency supply kit. Scroll down to review more detailed suggestions of items and quantities to keep on hand.

Basic Emergency Supply Kit

Kitchen Tools
Safety/First Aid
Documents and Money
Emergency reference material
Baby/Infants Special Needs

Contents of a Basic Emergency Supply Kit

To plan your emergency supplies, first check on the basics:


  • You will need one gallon of water per person per day
  • For planning purposes, stockpile for at least three days
  • Children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary
  • Additional water may be needed for sanitation and hygiene
  • Tip: Water can be quickly stockpiled in any clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles
    Tip: Keep the “extra spaces” in the freezer filled with ice (ice cubes in Ziploc bags, fill clean plastic bottles or cartons, etc). In an emergency, the ice will help keep the freezer cold, but can also be melted for clean drinking water.

    For planning purposes, stockpile at least a three day supply of non-perishable foods. Only choose foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation, cooking, and that require little or no water.

    You can use this list as a starting point:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Ready-to-eat pouched foods (tuna, rice…)
  • Protein or nutrition bars (Zone bars, Balance bars, Kashi…)
  • Protein or nutrition drinks (Boost, Ensure…)
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Dried milk
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk (box or canned)
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, craisins…)
  • Nuts (especially peanuts, almonds, and cashews)
  • Canned or bottled juices
  • Canned beans, (chili, baked beans, pork ‘n’ beans…)
  • Comfort/stress foods

    Kitchen Tools:

  • Can Opener (manual)
  • Paper/ disposable plates, napkins, cups, utensils
  • A strong spoon to remove things from cans
  • Knife
  • Phone number and directions to nearest dry ice supplier
  • Baby formula, milk, teething biscuits, etc.
    Tarp or plastic sheeting and tie-downs
    Tip: Large garbage bags can be duct taped together to create a tarp if necessary

    Sleeping bag or warm blankets
    Plan sleeping arrangements for each person.
    Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate


  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
  • Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate
  • Underwear! You can use pantiliners or pads for emergency changes.


  • Plan ahead for no running or potable water
  • Pre-moistened towelettes
  • Personal wipes
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Personal and feminine hygiene
  • Purcell or other dry hand sanitizer

Household Bleach:

  • Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach to disinfect
  • As an emergency water supply, use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water.
  • Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

Dust mask or pollen filter to help filter mold and debris.

Garbage bags (and plastic ties if necessary) for personal sanitation and/or clean-up

Multi-use products:

  • Baking soda (toothpaste, mouthwash)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (mouthwash, disinfectant)
  • Baby powder (dry shampoo)
    Safety/First Aid:

First Aid Kit:
The following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

  • Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
  • Eye wash solution
  • Thermometer

In addition, the following are recommended for First Aid kits:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Non-prescription drugs:
  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain relievers
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for upset stomach)
  • Laxative
  • Benadryl or other fast-acting antihistamine

Safety Equipment

  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both


  • wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter or knife
  • Hammer and nails


  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Batteries!
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil/pens
  • Cell Phone and standard corded wall phone
  • Charcoal for BBQ and lighter method
  • Candles (unscented)
  • Sewing kit
  • Consider pre-packing a travel kit with all those travel size products 

Documents and Money:

Copies of important family documents in waterproof, portable containers or ziplocs:

  • policies
  • identification
  • bank account records
  • credit or debit card numbers
  • Medical insurance cards.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change

Emergency reference material
first aid book
local disaster planning information
Local maps (you may have to locate an alternate route)
List of doctors and phone numbers
Emergency contacts
a local phone book

Additional Items to Consider Adding:


  • At least three days supply:
  • Daily medications such as insulin, heart medicine, blood pressure meds…
  • PRN medications such as asthma inhalers, anxiety meds, allergy meds
  • Extra set of prescription glasses, contacts, and related cleaners
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
  • Tip: Periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.

Baby/Infants Special Needs:

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
  • Wipes
  • Moist towelettes
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • toys
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children


  • Dry and/or canned pet food (don’t change from the usual brand now!)
  • Remember to include extra water for your pets
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Something to chew

Also Handy:

  • Wet/dry vacuums
  • Fans
  • Water filtration
  • Insect repellant
  • Roadside emergency Safety kit
  • Power inverter

Pre-packed Travel Kits
Use travel sizes, free samples, and free after coupon items:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • mouthwash
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • hair styling products
  • facial care
  • disposable razors
  • shaving crème/gel
  • make up
  • soap
  • dry shampoo
  • sewing kit
  • shower cap
  • maps
  • prepaid cell phone, phone card, debit cards
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