Plan for the Unexpected: What You Need at Home for an Emergency

Don’t wait to stock up on the items that can help you and your home face the unexpected.

By Bob Vila Staff | Updated Jan 11, 2022 2:54 PM

This article is sponsored by Harbor Freight.

In the past few years, we’ve seen the increased devastation that weather can bring. Floods now routinely break records. Fire season lasts longer, and hurricanes are even more destructive than ever. How can you keep your home protected from the worst-case scenarios? A little investment goes a long way. Generators, pumps, floodlights, and radios are all basic gear for disaster-prone areas. The following gear will all come in handy when the next flood or wildfire strike.

At retailers like Harbor Freight, you don’t have to shell out for prohibitively expensive equipment to stay prepared. Your family, your home, your wallet, and your neighbors—should they not be as well equipped—will all thank you.

Generator

When the power goes out, a generator is a no-brainer. Today’s generators run quieter, for longer, and are inexpensive enough to fit in the budget. Modern generators like the PREDATOR 9500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator can run up to 18 hours, powering up an entire home with the delicacy to handle sensitive electronics. Its carbon monoxide detector helps to guarantee safety, and its ultra-quiet running features mean you’ll barely hear it doing its thing.

Buy Now: Get the PREDATOR 9500 Watt Super Inverter Generator at Harbor Freight 

5 Gallon Gas Can

To power your generator, you’ll need gasoline. To ensure it’s stored as safely as possible, we like this Midwest Can 5 Gallon Gas Can from Harbor Freight. Made from durable HDPE (high density polyethylene), its vapor-locking spout reduces hazardous fumes. For added safety and peace of mind, it features a Flame Shield Safety System, giving you a double layer of protection from any accidental fires which may occur either during transportation or due to improper storage.

Buy Now: Get the Midwest Can 5 Gallon Gas Can at Harbor Freight

Sump Pump

In rain-prone areas, a sump pump is a necessity. It sits in the corner of your basement and drives water outside, and in turn can prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation—the most crucial part of your home. Sump pumps don’t just come in handy for hurricanes or big natural disasters: depending on your home’s construction, location, and drainage ability, even a moderate rain might necessitate one. For one that’s quiet, quick, and connects easily to the garden hose, check out the DRUMMOND 1/3 HP Submersible Utility Pump 2000 GPH at Harbor Freight.

Buy Now: Get the DRUMMOND 1/3 HP Submersible Utility Pump 2000 GPH at Harbor Freight

Submersible Utility Pump

If there’s just too much rain, then this pump comes in handy long after your basement accumulates water. The difference between this and the aforementioned sump pump is that this is more powerful, and capable of removing more water at a faster rate. It has a corrosion-resistant stainless steel housing, making it ideal for removing water from flooded cellars or crawl spaces. After the floodwaters recede, getting all of that standing water out is a priority. Since you can use this underwater in an already-flooded space, it’s a must-have.

Buy Now: Get the DRUMMOND 1 HP Submersible Sump Pump at Harbor Freight

Floor Fan

Airing out your flooded areas quickly and efficiently can prevent things from getting worse, such as mold or further rot. A big fan—like this CENTRAL MACHINERY 20 In. High Velocity Floor Fan—will do the trick, especially for maximum air flow that’s strong enough to ventilate a room, dry carpet, or remove dangerous fumes.

Buy Now: Get the CENTRAL MACHINERY 20 In. High Velocity Floor Fan at Harbor Freight

Moisture Meter

A moisture meter is useful when reporting a flood claim to your insurance company. The handy PITTSBURGH Digital Mini Moisture Meter can identify the amount of moisture in wood, which is invaluable in determining how much damage your home has endured, and where points of rot might occur.

Buy Now: Get the PITTSBURGH Digital Mini Moisture Meter at Harbor Freight

Portable Radio

When your cell phone stops working, having access to a radio and its traditional AM/FM bands is vital—both for listening to emergency updates and keeping your loved ones entertained when the TV and internet goes out. This radio from Harbor Freight is not only tough enough to withstand a disaster or a construction site, it also has the ability to charge your devices via USB, so if you do get cell reception back, you can take advantage.

Buy Now: Get the BAUER 20v Lithium-Ion Cordless Compact Radio With Bluetooth® at Harbor Freight 

Emergency Floodlights

Let your little light shine when the power goes out. The BRAUN Ultra-Compact 750 Lumen Rechargeable Magnetic Floodlight is chargeable via USB, so there’s no tricky wiring to drill through, nor batteries to replace. The magnetic base is extra convenient and its 360-degree swiveling head will light the way out of a dangerous situation anytime you need it.

Buy Now: Get the BRAUN Ultra-Compact 750 Lumen Rechargeable Magnetic Floodlight at Harbor Freight

Fire Extinguisher

They’re not just for when you burn the meatloaf. A versatile fire extinguisher, like the KIDDE 5.5 Lb. Fire Extinguisher, will give you peace of mind for handling all classes of fires (liquids, solids, and gases) and is a must-have around the house. Whether you mount it against a wall or keep it behind a cabinet, it helps to always know where it is, and to keep it charged every few years so it won’t fail you when you need it the most.

Buy Now: Get the KIDDE 5.5 Lb. Fire Extinguisher at Harbor Freight

Foldable Solar Panel

When you need to charge your smartphones and tablets, this Thunderbolt Foldable Solar Panel is the answer to your low-battery prayers. This handy accessory delivers an impressive 18 watts of free, clean energy, so it can also be used to charge many other small to medium USB-powered devices. Thanks to its super-slim design, this solar panel is easily storable and is an essential in every at-home emergency kit.

Buy Now: Get the THUNDERBOLT Foldable Solar Panel at Harbor Freight 

Rope

Ask any scout: A high-quality rope can get you out of a bind, or into one if needed, and it can also help you build a sweet trebuchet. A durable, good-quality, synthetic rope can come in handy for securing equipment, affixing tarps, or holding back tree branches. Check out the HAUL-MASTER 3/8 In. X 100 Ft. Polypropylene Rope from Harbor Freight: Versatile and ever useful, it’s one of the cheapest yet most useful items you can throw into your emergency kit.

Buy Now: Get the HAUL-MASTER 3/8 In. x 100 Ft. Polypropylene Rope at Harbor Freight

This content is paid advertising created in partnership with Harbor Freight. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com. The following Amazon affiliate disclaimer is not applicable to this sponsored post.