What's in your emergency kit?

I just spent $200 this morning to make sure I have everything I need in my emergency kit as we prepare for Hurricane Ian here in St. Petersburg, Florida. (OK, $178… I spent the other $22 on beer.) I don’t live in an evacuation zone so I’m staying put, though it looks like many of my neighbors are heading out.

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, so hurricanes are really the only type of disaster I’ve prepared for. I would be so clueless if I had to prepare for, say, a snowstorm. But since we have community members from all across the U.S., it made me wonder: What do you keep in your emergency kit, and what disasters do you have to prepare for?

I can’t say that I have every single recommended supply. For example, I don’t have a whistle to signal for help and a dust mask to filter contaminated air. But I made sure to get enough non-perishable food and water to last me and my dog at least a week, plus I bought batteries and stocked up on first-aid supplies, bleach, sanitizing wipes, etc.

Normally, I’d be freaking out about having spent $200 before 9 a.m., but I guess when a hurricane is barreling your way, it’s a good reminder that health and safety matter more than money. So tell me: What’s in your emergency kit? Have you had to use your emergency kit? Any tips for building one on the cheap?

Also, to my fellow Floridians and anyone else in Ian’s path: Let’s all stay safe!


I do not have an emergency kit. But, when a particularly big blizzard is coming, which isn’t often, I make sure to have plenty of water, shovels, and food I can eat without cooking. The real danger is the loss of electricity and therefore heat, so blankets are pulled out. Otherwise, we are all set here.
I lost power and heat several years back (thankfully in a rental) and it was so cold that all the water in the house froze overnight- in the toilets and everything! It was a miracle that only one of the pipes burst, and it didn’t do damage since it was so frozen. Landlord had to get a propane heater in to thaw the area and fix the pipe, and we left for a friends house that had a fireplace.

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I’ve never experienced a hurricane, but I lived most of my life in Tornado Alley (Omaha, Nebraska). We made sure we had a comfortable space in the basement set up in case we had to spend a few hours there to wait out the storm. We had on hand things like flashlights, a wind up radio and water and snacks. Maybe even a Gameboy. Keeping the local weather on the TV for in-the-moment updates was key, as those storms flare up fast!

Then there’s the snowstorm prep. For that we had plenty of warm blankets on hand in case the power went out. We also stocked up with few days worth of food and water. Thankfully I’ve only experienced one storm where the power was out for more than a day or two.

Last, living in Minneapolis during the unrest in 2020, there were a couple nights when no one knew what was going to happen. There was chaos on the streets. My then-pregnant now-wife and I had a couple overnight bags packed with clothes, toiletries, phone chargers, etc. in case we had to up-and-leave at a moment’s notice. Thankfully, our section of the city remained calm.

To everyone in Florida, stay safe out there!

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I live in a snowstorm area. We have both landline and cell. For landline, we have an old fashioned 1980s phone which is corded, no caller ID, which will work if the power goes out. I also have a phone charger for the car that I can use to charge the phone in an emergency. I have a grill lighter to light my gas stove in case the electric ignite does not work, which will also provide heat. Extra blankets and fuel powered heaters are here. We have food that can be eaten without being cooked, water, and candles as well. (Tip: if you find the emergency candles are wiped out at a store in sporting goods, check out the store’s religious aisle. Same thing holds true for similar items - camping mat vs yoga mat. You don’t care what the items are called. You just want to use them.) I fill up my tub if it looks like we’re going to have a power outage. You then have water to flush a toilet with. Same thing with the washer: fill it and unplug it. You’re not wasting your drinking water on things that don’t need potable water. I have cash on hand because debit cards may not work and a bug out bag packed with clothing, medication, personal care items, and cash if I have to get out of here quick. I keep my gas tank full because if there’s a power outage, you can’t fill up. Gas tank pumps operate on electricity. I also have a propane grill. You want to plan for emergencies long before they are looming. Don’t forget to prep for your furbabies! Praying for Florida!


i live in a snow storm area so i make sure i have plenty of water can goods like tuna chicken and beans, i know i can use my old fashion can opener and eat and drink water also make sure i have a shovel


@dear.penny I hope you’re safe post-hurricane! Yesterday/last night, Ian sent a bunch of rain, wind and debris here in Virginia Beach. Every year, I look forward to the anticipation, anxiety and thrill of hurricane season. It’s hit or miss in Virginia! My scattered emergency skit (I really should keep it all in one place) consists of: hand-crank radio with USB plug for charging phones, water, food, flashlights, batteries, documents in a waterproof/fireproof safe, cash. My car has a full tank of gas, N95 masks/scissors/medical supplies, and a tool my mom gave me to break the windows. I think I have even more stuff prepared for my dog! Good point on having cleaning supplies, food/water for a week and signals/whistles.


I kind of waited until the last minute to stock up on water that I might need - luckily I found some at Aldi, completely by accident.

I also made 2 grocery store runs, and I spent around $100 in extra groceries - everything from pretzels to fruit.