Household Tips

Make Your Own Home Emergency Kit

I lived in Pembroke during the big Ice Storm of 1998 that hit Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. My husband was in the military and was called to help out during the storm. I can recall him telling me that they were staying in a school gym and that it was serving as one of the shelters for the area. Pembroke is in Eastern Ontario, but thankfully we weren’t hit by the Ice Storm too hard. I remember thinking to myself how lucky we were.

Since then I’ve had a few scares – tornado warnings in Edmonton, hurricanes and Nor’easters in Nova Scotia and Micro Bursts in Ontario. You’d think by now I’d have gotten my act together and prepared a Home Emergency Kit. I’m sure I could dig up most of the recommended items on the list on a regular day. However, would I still be able to find everything I needed in the dark? I’m not so sure and I really don’t want to test it out.

I’ve been researching emergency kits so I can cross one item off my to-do list – make my own home emergency kit! If the time ever comes (and I hope it doesn’t), I’ll be ready.

Make Your Own Home Emergency Kit - It's so important to be prepared. Use this list to gather the most important supplies to last your household for 72 hours without power


Your Home Emergency Kit should have enough supplies to carry you and your family through 72 hours without food and water. Keeping it organized and easy to find is also important. Like I said, you may already have all this stuff in your house, but not in one spot. Get it all together and put it in something you can carry easily (like a backpack) in case you have to leave quickly.

Here is a list of the basic supplies that I’m adding to my Home Emergency Kit.

1. Water. Make sure to have enough for 2L per person per day. Include some small water bottles in the kit for portability if you need to vacate. If you have pets, remember to add some extra water to cover their needs too.

2. Food. Include non-perishable food like canned goods, energy or protein bars, dried snacks, etc. I also have a small bag of cat food for my two cats. I’ve been stockpiling for the last few months and have built up a good amount of canned food with my couponing.

3. Manual Can Opener. An electric can opener will not work in a power outage – a no-brainer! I only use a manual can opener anyways and they are inexpensive to pick up.

4. Flashlights. I have a flashlight for each person in our house to use.

5. Extra batteries. You’ll need these for your radio and flashlight. I’ve been watching for sales and coupons for batteries.

6. First Aid Kit. I like this Family First Aid Kit from the Red Cross. If you have one already, check it to make sure it’s stocked. If not, replenish the supplies.

7. Battery powered or wind up radio. I still need to buy a radio for my kit. I want one so I can listen to any emergency broadcasts. My old alarm clock was battery powered and had a radio. I wish I had kept it!

8. Extra keys for your car and house. You can grab your emergency kit and leave quickly and not have to worry about hunting down your car or house keys.

9. Cash in smaller bills and pocket change. If the power is out in your area, you can bet the debit machines won’t be working either. Keep some cash on hand for emergency situations. Change is good to have in case you need to use a pay phone.

10. Hand sanitizer. The germaphobe in me is making sure we have extra hand sanitzer. You’ll be glad you have it if there is no running water.

Other items you might want to consider adding depending on your circumstances include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Baby supplies (diapers, formula, bottles)
  • Older telephone – the new cordless phones don’t work in power outages
  • Battery charger for your cell phone

Every year remind yourself to rotate out the supplies – water, expired food, batteries, etc. I figure I can do it every new year since that is usually the time of year I start my organizing projects.

I’m tired of that panicky feeling I get when I hear about a big storm coming our way. No more running out the day before to grab supplies. If the big one hits, I want our family to be ready to ride out the storm.

Do you have a Home Emergency Kit?

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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