Having a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen, garage, and next to the fireplace should be a no-brainer. A multipurpose fire extinguisher, like the Kidde FA 110, will protect your home and family in the event of a fire. It’s effective as a first defense against common combustible fires, as well as grease and electrical fires. If that's not enough reason to stock a fire extinguisher at home, consider this: Your home insurance provider will likely give you a better rate if you have this device at home. Available on Amazon; $19.98.
Fire Escape Ladder
When disaster strikes, it pays to have a plan. You can save your life and the lives of your family by establishing an escape route to use in case of fire or other emergencies. Once you've identified your best exit route, create a backup plan. Example: If your preferred method of escape involves taking the stairs, give yourself an alternative means of exit through an upstairs window. For that you'll need a fire escape ladder. It can be stored compactly in a closet or under a bed, and deploys quickly and easily by attaching to most common window types. With a price point around $30, you can buy one for each upstairs bedroom and sleep a lot easier. Available on Amazon; $30.79.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Odorless and colorless, carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Since there's no way to see or smell this deadly gas, it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector that can alert you to rising CO levels, giving you time to evacuate the house. The Kidde KN-COPP-3 Nighthawk, a plug-in carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup, is a solid choice. It can be installed into any standard power outlet, which means it can go anywhere in your home, or with you while you travel. Available on Amazon; $35.70.
You might already employ super glue as a cure-all for bonding broken household items. But did you know you can also use it in a pinch to close a small wound? Doomsday preppers, hunters, and tradespeople have used this little secret for years. If you have a clean cut that’s not too deep, and don't have bandages available, put a small amount of super glue over the wound and spread it evenly before it dries. It will create a web-like sealant over the area that will keep the wound closed until new skin forms. Any cyanoacrylate formula glue will work, including Gorilla Super Glue. Available on Amazon; $3.70.
In this day and age when seemingly everyone relies on their mobile devices for driving directions, information, and emergency contacts, a dead battery can leave you lost and stranded. Never be left with a dead phone again when you pick up an extra battery pack. A portable power bank, like the Lizone 5200mAh Mini Portable Charger, will fit in your pocket and charge not only your phone, but a host of other portable devices. It's handy to have during road trips, major storms, or those times you forget to power up before you leave home. Available on Amazon; $10.99.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Outlet
Electrocution may seem like a hazard reserved only for electric company linemen and storm chasers, but home appliances, in-pool lighting, and even Christmas lights, can cause electrocution, too. The way to boost your safety, and guard against electric shock, is to install GFCI outlets. These receptacles monitor the difference in electrical current flowing in and out of a light fixture, tool or appliance. If that difference exceeds 5 milliamps, the GFCI shuts off the current almost instantly, which could save your life or prevent a fire, should a ground fault be occurring. If your home doesn’t have GFCI outlets where they are required by the National Electric Code, you can retrofit them with any number of models available today. Available on Amazon; from $7.99.
An emergency fire blanket is a must have for the kitchen, car, or your next camping adventure. Not only can it suppress a variety of fires (including grease and liquid) by smothering, but you can also wrap it around yourself and use it as a heat shield, should you need to escape a fire. The Tonyko Fiberglass Fire Blanket will not only put out a kitchen fire with less mess than an extinguisher, but will also create a fireproof barrier between you and the flames. Without a doubt, every home should have one. Available on Amazon; from $9.99.
Gas/Water Shut Off Tool
In the event of a natural disaster, being able to quickly and easily turn off the gas or water supplies could save both lives and property. With a multifunction utility tool like the ER Emergency Ready 8SP, you can shut off your gas or water mains, pry open doors and windows, and dig through rubble. Keep an emergency essential like this close to your gas meter. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be prepared. Available on Amazon; $13.24.
It’s likely that you already have cling wrap somewhere in your kitchen cabinets, but you might not know that it can do more than preserve food. It can also help to heal minor burns. After running cold water over the burned area to take away the heat, wrap it in cling wrap. That will help keep the area clean and hydrated while covering the exposed nerve endings that are screaming in pain. Available on Amazon; $12.88 for a 2-pack.
Portable Jump Starter
A portable jump starter can come to the rescue if your battery’s gone dead in an empty parking lot late at night. Compact enough to store in your glovebox, the Beatit 880 Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter has jumper cables attached. But it can do more than just recharge your car battery. It also has a built in LED flashlight, SOS light to signal for help, and a USB port that will charge a cell phone or other device. No vehicle should be without this kind of backup. Available on Amazon; $69.99.
Campers, hikers, and survivalists know that being able to start a fire can save you if you’re stranded in bad weather. A multifunctional survival tool like the Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle is a triple-pack of protection. The magnesium fire starter rod will help you get a flame going, the compass will give you direction, and the whistle will help you signal distress. It’s the kind of essential that should be packed in every emergency bag. Available on Amazon; $8.95.
Drinking Water Storage
Whether you’re camping, or preparing for a storm, a supply of fresh water is essential for survival. The Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container is suitable for both outdoor activities and emergency water storage. It has a hideaway spigot for easy water dispensing, and conveniently stacks when it’s empty. Consider keeping a few stored away to fill in the event of an emergency. Available on Amazon; $14.39.
Water Purifying Straw
You can’t survive more than a couple of days without a supply of clean drinking water. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter can filter up to 264 gallons of contaminated water, removing 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites. Perfect for hiking, camping, traveling, or emergency preparedness, millions have used it around the globe since 2005. Available on Amazon; $19.95.
Related: 10 Essentials for Any Survival Kit
Gain peace of mind with inexpensive, easy-to-install, window and door alarms. Not only will the GE Personal Security Window/Door Alarm sound an alarm should an intruder try to gain entry into your home, it can alert you with a chime should someone (like a small child) leave the house. It takes only minutes to install and activate, and because it requires no wiring, it's perfect for homeowners and renters alike. Available on Amazon; $11.24 for two.
In the wintertime, if the power goes out, so does your heat. If the electricity stays off for anything more than a few hours, a back-up heat source is crucial. That's where a Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy can save your skin. Powered by propane, and safe for both outdoor and indoor use, it will heat up to 225 square feet, and can keep you and your family comfortable in an emergency. Available on Amazon; $77.51.
Money-saving, time-saving—and yes, sometimes even life-saving—the latest and greatest smart home technologies span from self-programming thermostats to voice-activated TV controls to video doorbells and beyond. Raise your home's IQ!