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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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home emergency essentials kit

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. Here are top-rated items for your home emergency preparedness kit:

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first aid kit

All-Purpose First Aid 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.

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multi functional tool

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.

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flashlight radio tool

Emergency 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. 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.

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roadside emergency kit

INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit

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.

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flashlight for emergencies

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.

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first aid kit for pets

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.

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The Healthy
Originally Published on The Healthy

Amanda Gardner
Amanda Gardner is a freelance health reporter whose stories have appeared in,,, WebMD, HealthDay, Self Magazine, the New York Daily News, Teachers & Writers Magazine, the Foreign Service Journal, AmeriQuests (Vanderbilt University) and others. In 2009, she served as writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is also a community artist and recipient or partner in five National Endowment for the Arts grants.