Crisis Kit: 15 Items for Times of Distress

Crisis Kit: 15 Items for Times of Distress

What is a Crisis Kit?

A crisis kit, also known as an emergency preparedness kit, is a collection of essential items designed to help you and your family survive during difficult times. While the contents can vary based on your specific needs, a well-stocked crisis kit generally includes food, water, first aid supplies, tools, hygiene items and more.

Why Have a Crisis Kit?

Disasters and emergencies can happen unexpectedly at any time. Having an emergency kit prepared in advance will help ensure you have what you need to safely weather the storm. Key reasons to have a crisis kit ready include:

  • Quick access to critical supplies during a disaster
  • Ability to shelter in place if needed
  • Peace of mind knowing your family’s basic needs can be met

15 Recommended Items for Your Crisis Kit

When building your crisis kit, focus first on emergency food, water and first aid. Then incorporate items for sanitation, communication, lighting and specific personal needs.

1. Water – 1 Gallon Per Person Per Day

Stock at least a three day supply of water for each person and pet. Store water in food grade plastic jugs or bottles.

2. Non-Perishable Foods

Choose calorie-dense foods like granola bars, nuts, canned goods and dried foods. Prioritize comfort foods as well.

3. Manual Can Opener

A manual opener allows you to access canned goods without power.

4. First Aid Kit

Include basic medical supplies like bandages, gauze, medication, cotton swabs and antibiotic ointment.

5. Medications

Pack an extra week’s supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

6. Flashlight and Batteries

LED flashlights provide long-lasting illumination without risking fire hazard.

7. Battery-Powered Radio

News and emergency broadcasts will provide valuable information.

8. Multi-Tool or Pocket Knife

A multi-tool or pocket knife provides essential functionality for repairs, food prep and even self-defense.

9. Personal Hygiene Items

Pack soap, toothpaste, feminine products, toilet paper, and other essentials.

10. Garbage Bags

Use plastic bags to store waste, create shelter, collect rainwater or transport wet items.

11. Cash

Keep small bills and coins for purchasing essentials or emergency transportation.

12. Face Masks

Respirator masks protect against smoke inhalation and airborne illnesses.

13. Emergency Blanket

Foil blankets conserve body heat to prevent hypothermia.

14. Dust Mask

A dust mask helps filter airborne particles if air quality is compromised.

15. Work Gloves

Protect your hands during debris clean-up or makeshift repairs.


What are the most important items for a crisis kit?

The most critical items are water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights and a battery-powered radio. Prioritize these before anything else.

How often should I update my kit?

Check your kit every 6 months, replacing expired medications, food and water. Update as your family’s needs change.

Where should I keep my crisis kit?

Keep it somewhere easily accessible, like a hall closet or garage. Share access info with your family.

What if I can’t afford all these supplies?

Start small with water, food and first aid. Build up gradually as your budget allows. Purchase on sale and use coupons.

What if I have special medical needs?

Talk with your doctor about preparing an extended supply of medications, medical equipment and support items tailored to your condition.