Skip To Content
  • disasterweek badge
Updated on Jul 8, 2019. Posted on Jun 22, 2017

Here's Exactly What You Should Keep Around In Case Disaster Strikes

A shopping list for the (almost) apocalypse.

It's unpredictable trash fire of a world out there, and a lot of people are hardcore prepping for the end — which can be very overwhelming if you're just ~casually~ concerned.

Josh Freydkis / Via

Going through all of the prepper websites and Pinterest boards can be time-intensive, and stockpiling supplies get downright expensive! And where do you draw the line on what's worth it and what's excessive?

There's a lot of information out there, so I talked to Irwin Redlener, an emergency preparedness expert, to find out the basics that all adults should have in their home, just in case.

Paramount Pictures / Via

Although most people will need to think about different types of emergencies depending on where they live, Redlener says that everyone should follow these general guidelines:

• Keep at least three days' worth of any and all supplies on hand.

• Check any perishable items every six months to make sure they're still usable.

• Always maintain a plan of communication with family members and close friends.

• Most events won't be so catastrophic that they'll involve a societal breakdown, so nothing Redlener recommends involves weapons, owning a safe house, or going off the grid.

With that out of the way, here are the basic items Redlener recommends everyone keep in their home and/or in a go bag:

1. A battery- or crank-operated radio.


If the power goes out in your home, you'll want to have a way to hear about what's going on in the world, Redlener says. And if you can't get your hands on a crank-operated one, then you'll definitely want...

Get it from Amazon for $31.90.

2. Spare batteries.


Lots of them, in case you end up relying on battery-powered technology for more than a few days.

Get them from Amazon for $4.28 (available in packs of 8, 20, or 48 and in AA or AAA).

3. A variety of protein-packed, non-perishable food.


"Cans of tuna fish, jars of peanut butter, and well-sealed high-protein foods like nuts that are not likely to go bad are all good to keep around," Redlener says. He also recommends dairy products that don’t need refrigeration, like ultra-pasteurized milk. And don't forget a can opener (this one is legitimately the best ever)!

Get a pack of four cans from Amazon for $5.82.

4. At least three days' worth of water.


Three gallons per person is ideal, Redlener says, but people with smaller living spaces or wallets should get however much they can reasonably store.

Get a pack of 12 from Amazon for $2.23.

5. A box of N95 face masks.


Redlener recommends keeping these around in case there's risk of exposure to chemicals or infectious disease.

Get a pack of 20 from Amazon for $9.63.

6. A solar-powered phone charger., Amazon

Again, anything that provides a charge without a plug "could be very good and worthwhile," Redlener says.

Get it from Amazon for $21.95.

7. Lots and lots of Purell.


In many cases, especially in the event of an earthquake or tornado, access to clean water may be limited, so Redlener suggests keeping around some kind of non-water-based cleaning system like Purell or Handiwipes. Portable sizes are much more space-efficient for people living in small homes or apartments.

Get it from Amazon for $20.08.

8. Copies of all important personal documents — and something to store them in — in case you need to leave your home.


"If you're packing up a go bag, include a copy of your birth certificate, your social security card, and your mortgage statement," Redlener advises. The same goes for any family mementos, like photos.

Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $6.59.

9. A stockpile of any medications you may need.


"Whether it’s insulin or blood pressure medication, or any other medication that millions of people rely on, you should have a backup supply," Redlener says. "Most people only get a 30-day supply at one time, but almost all insurance policies will allow you to get your next 30-day supply a few days to a week earlier, so do that as much as you can until you have enough to last you a few months." A box will help you keep them all secure and in one place.

Get it from Amazon for $32.99.

10. Waterproof tape.


Not only is duct tape multi-use, making it great to have around for any kind of disaster, but the waterproof kind is especially good for sealing up doorways and windows in the event of floods, according to Redlener.

Get it from Amazon for $6.22.

11. A backup generator, if you live in a suburban or rural area.


It's much harder to to have room for one in an urban area, Redlener says, but it's a lifesaver when the power goes out for an extended period of time.

Get it from Amazon for $399.

12. A toolbox filled with some basic tools.


Screwdrivers, a hammer, a small saw, and a small axe are among Redlener's recommended essentials.

Get it from Amazon for $27.99 (available with 148 or 160 pieces).

13. A First Aid book.


"Every teenager or adult should know CPR and first aid so that you can deal with any emergency situation," Redlener says. A book like this one will help with any unexpected scenarios that arise.

Get it from Amazon for $10.48.

14. Anything someone who depends on you — like a baby or a sick relative — might need.


"Never forget to keep an excess of diapers and baby food around if you have an infant," Redlener says. "For older children, be sure to keep around books and non-electronic games, things that will keep them occupied."

The same goes for older relatives or neighbors, he adds. "If, like, many Americans, you have an older relative who’s living by themselves or in a care facility, you have to think of what that person might need. Neighbors who might be infirm are also included in that. You have a social responsibility to help out your circle."

Get a pack of 18 from Amazon for $24.44 (available in 17 flavors).

15. And don't forget about your pets!


If disaster strikes, your pet will be in as much danger as you will. Prepare everything — food, toys, etc. — for them as you would for yourself or your children, Redlener advises. Dogs that usually go to the bathroom outdoors may need some kind of pad around to do their business inside. And, obviously, make sure to keep some toys around for them, too.

Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $11.64+ (available in packs of 10, 50, 100, 150, and 200).

This week, we're talking about preparing for and surviving the worst things imaginable. See more Disaster Week content here.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Newsletter signup form