Interior Home Technology

Prep for Disaster: 10 Things You’ll Need in a Home Emergency

When disaster strikes, how prepared are you to handle the fallout? It pays to prep for all manner of calamity—from power outages and house fires to extreme weather situations. Click through our list of gear you'll want in your emergency preparedness kit.

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OxyLED MD10 Flashlight

Whether the power is out at home or you’re stranded alongside the road changing a tire after dark, this extraordinary flashlight has you covered. But really, it’s hard to label this gadget just a flashlight. Sure, the OxyLED flashlight can toggle between seven lighting modes (full bright/semi-bright/strobe, including a side white and red lights). But built from aluminum alloy and stainless steel, the gadget features a cutting knife, an attack hammer, a compass, and magnet that allows you to position it on any metal surface to works hands-free. Recharge its batteries at any old outlet via USB, or stick it out in the sun. With this tool by your side, no emergency situation will feel quite like an SOS. Available on Amazon; $19.99.

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Anker PowerCore 20100

Keep phones for the whole family at full-charge the next time a power line goes down when you connect to the small but mighty Anker PowerCore 20100. Its impressive output of 4.8 amps can power two mobile devices simultaneously without lag, again and again. No, really. The pocket-sized battery packs more than meets the eye—enough to charge the iPhone 7 almost seven times, the Galaxy S6 five times, or the iPad mini twice when fully charged. Available on Amazon; $39.99.

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Berkey Countertop Water Filter

In the event of an emergency, because your home may not maintain its usual easy access to potable water, FEMA and other government agencies recommend keeping a three-day supply on hand, just in case. Many homeowners decide to stockpile much more. However, no matter how much water you store in the basement or garage, there’s always the possibility of running out before the municipal supply returns to normal. To plan ahead for a situation in which you must source water in creative ways, consider investing in a household water purifier like the Big Berkey, a longtime favorite of both doomsday preppers and international aid organizations like UNICEF. Available at Amazon; $288.50.

Related: 14 Sneaky Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill

NOAA Radio Receiver

You need at least one emergency radio capable of tuning into the “weather bands” used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Midland Digital Weather Radio stands out, because it runs on a range of power sources. Normally, its lithium ion battery charges via USB, but if the power goes out, you can hand-crank it, add in AA batteries, or rely on the small, built-in solar panel. Additional features include an ultrasonic dog whistle to signal search-and-rescue teams and an extra-bright, 130-lumen LED flashlight you can set to an SOS pulse. Best of all, if the NOAA puts out an alert, the units beeps and flashes, so you know to listen up. Available at Amazon; $69.99.

Related: 10 Essentials for Any Survival Kit

4-in-1 Emergency Tool

In the midst of disaster, you won’t have time to rummage through your home for emergency tools. But keep this SurvivalKitsOnline 4-in-1 tool in an accessible spot, and you’ll always be prepared for floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and whatever other calamity comes your way. The tool, which is made with heat-treated alloy, easily shuts off water meters and gas valves. You can also use it to sift through debris, as well as pry open doors or cabinets. Available on Amazon; $17.70.

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Stormproof Matches

Matches should be included in every home emergency supply, and the UCO Stormproof Match Kit goes above and beyond with its innovative safety features. The kit comes with 25 windproof and waterproof matches, three replaceable strikers, and a floatable match case made of durable plastic. Each match burns up to 15 seconds, giving you plenty of time to light a candle or start a fire. The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is ideal for power outages or situations that require a warmth-generating or signal fire. Available on Amazon; $8.80.

Related: 10 Safety Essentials That Most Homes Are Missing

TAC Force Pocket Knife

There are a lot of fancy gadgets out there, but the most reliable tool may be one of the simplest: the handy pocket knife. Small and lightweight, it is easy to carry during any emergency scenario, and with its spring assist, can be quickly accessed with one-handed deployment. No matter the situation, whether you need to clear away small brush, cut textiles, or slice food, the pocket knife can handle it. Available on Amazon; $8.53.

Related: 15 Handy Things to Get at Home Depot for Under $15

Crank-Powered Flashlight and Smartphone Charger

Your phone can save you in a disaster by connecting you to emergency services or nearby friends and family who can help you to safety. But during a disaster our devices are useless if they aren’t charged. The American Red Cross’s FRX3, an all-in-one radio, flashlight, and charger, aims to keep you connected and your devices running—no matter what. The do-anything machine can be powered with rechargeable batteries, solar power, AAA batteries, or even a hand-crank so that no matter where you are, rain or shine, you’ll be able to call for help. Available on Amazon; $43.59.

Related: 10 Emergencies Every Homeowner Should Know How to Handle

Kidde Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder

House fires can happen fast, and when they do you’ll need to extinguish the flames or evacuate as quickly as possible. In the case of evacuation, the most direct route is best. On the main level, that means exiting from a front, back, or side door. On the upper levels, however, you’ll need to be prepared to leave through the window. An emergency ladder can make your descent swift and safe. It attaches securely to the window frame. Once in place, the ladder’s anti-slip metal rungs allow you and your family to exit and remove to a safe distance from the blaze before dialing 911. Available on Amazon; $65.99.

Related: 14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House

Back-up Generator

Power’s out! Time to pull out the generator to keep your household running. If you’re using a standard generator that means dragging a bulky, heavy piece of equipment out of storage, then powering up a loudly whining motor. The Q6500 QuietPower generator from Briggs & Stratton is different. More compact, 30% lighter, and more than 60% quieter than traditional models, this is one device that makes emergency living more convenient in every sense of the word. Available from Briggs & Stratton; at select retailers.

Related: Time’s Up: 9 Things to Repair in Your Home Before It’s Too Late