DIY Home Emergency Kit

Written by Gretchen on March 22nd, 2012

Family Safety

My wise mama always says, “There are no emergencies for those who are prepared.”

Of course, that must be taken with a grain of salt, but truly, for those who are prepared emergencies are much less traumatic. So why don’t I have an emergency kit pulled together at home yet?

emergency kit

It’s been on my to-do-list forever and I’m finally choosing to make it a priority this month!

Depending on where you live, your emergency might look different from mine, but a basic emergency kit will hold the same things. I’m in the good ol’ Pacific Northwest and I know it’s only a matter of time before another earthquake shakes things up around here. Think about the disasters that could strike your area and plan accordingly.

In preparation for an emergency, this is what will be tucked in the corner of my garage from now on:


Think through what your family prefers and has a long shelf life. Each emergency kit should have enough for each person in your family for 3 days. If you are breastfeeding your baby, think through what alternatives you would want available for them in case you were separated from your baby or unable to nurse. Don’t forget about pets!

  • Water (one gallon/day/person)
  • Canned meal replacement shakes, meats, fruits, and veggies
  • Protein bars, nuts, soups, and crackers
  • Can opener
  • Waterproof matches
  • Foil
  • Paper plates, cups, napkins, and utensils


Think through your normal day; make note of all the necessities you and your family use on a daily basis. Make sure the bare necessities are packed in your emergency kit.

  • Plastic bags: gallon and trash can size
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, sunscreen, contact solution and supplies (if needed)
  • Medications
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Extra glasses: prescription and sun
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Women’s hygiene items


Depending on where you live, you might need clothing for a variety of seasons — pack layers so you are prepared no matter the time of year that disaster may strike.

  • 1 pair of clothes for each family member
  • 1 pair of warm pajamas for each family member
  • Waterproof outerwear
  • Sturdy shoes and a few pairs of socks


I’ll be honest, I consulted my husband to walk me through the necessary items we might need in regard to safety. I also thought it was a good idea to run this list by him before I started gathering from his work bench!

  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Flare
  • Portable radio
  • Rubber gloves and masks
  • Work gloves
  • Hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and duct tape
  • Utility knife
  • Blanket and tarp
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone charger
  • Scissors


Once everyone is safe, it might be awhile until electricity is restored or help arrives. Package appropriate activities for your children.

  • Puzzles and books
  • Crayons and coloring book or journal and pen
  • Family board game and playing cards
  • Video games (with batteries)
  • Knitting or crafts
  • Lego


If home is inaccessible and internet is down, it would be wise to have copies of important paperwork and other information you might find helpful.

  • Copies of birth certificates, social security cards, passports, bank account information, and debit cards
  • Spare key for home and each vehicle
  • Cash and checkbook
  • Phone numbers and addresses of 1-2 local and 1-2 out-of-state contacts whom your spouse or child could contact if needed

Depending on where you live and how old your children are, you might have other things in your kit — what would you add?

Further resource about building an emergency kit can be found here:
FEMA’s “Ready” Recommendations
Red Cross Kit Recommendations
The First 3 Minutes from According to Kelly
Car Emergency Kit
Anatomy of a First Aid Kit

About The Author: Gretchen

ThatMamaG My NPN Posts

I am a WAHM mama of two from the Pacific Northwest. I began my career in corporate sales and marketing and am now a freelance writer exploring the joys of attachment parenting while trying to find a reason to wear something other than yoga pants on a daily basis :)

9 Responses to DIY Home Emergency Kit

  1. Lauren  

    This is so thorough and helpful! You’re inspiring me to put some kits together. We have minimal storage space in our apartment — any ideas for which items are most important to include?

  2. Les

    Thorough it is! I was just wondering, how often do you update this kit? Like, for example, I have a small one at home but find that the water gets bad over some time or that the batteries die out too. I know it might be a common sense question but not everything that you put in has an expiration date. Your two cents would be helpful. Thanks in advance! :s

    • Gretchen  

      I’m no expert, but I would think an annual check on water/batteries would be a good idea. Perhaps when you check smoke alarms, run through your emergency kit too 🙂

      • Les

        Thanks Gretchen! I guess it should be like on a list of things to do annually (renew insurance, enrolment etc).
        Even the first aid kit sterilized stuff dry out too!
        As for the documentation, I have to agree. Every time I hear news about fires (March is fire prevention month where I come from), the first thing that comes to mind is that the only thing I’ll save (next to my kids, of course) would be my bag that has our birth certs etc.

  3. Gretchen  

    The documentation section is pretty important and you can do a mini version of the rest. Almost like the earthquake/emergency kits that schools have students put together with snacks, a flashlight, favorite picture from home, etc. You could tailor it to each person so the little ones have diapers/activities and parents have some extra food, kitchen supplies, and tools.

  4. Rosa Hess

    This is great! I’ve been wanting to put something like this together for a while and this list will make it so much easier for me.

  5. Sarah Jane  

    Thanks for the list of suggesions. I’m also going to use part of this list and try to keep something in our car. That way if something happens, we can have water on hand in the summer, and things on hand in the winter.

  6. Crunchy Con Mommy  

    Great ideas! Except that I think if there is a tornado or something (the most likely disaster where I live), I’ll be fine for a few days without showering, so I probably won’t stock much in the hygiene category. Apologies to my rescuers!
    We really do need to get a weather radio and new first aid kit and some water etc though. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  7. Kiersten W.  

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been contemplating our Emergency Kit situation for a while. I think this motivated me to finally get on that project!