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Get 10 Essential Items

Store these 10 essential items in a cool, dry place, preferably in your family preparedness kit.

1. Water

2. Food

3. Can Opener

4. Medications

5. First Aid

6. Flashlight

7. Radio

8. Clothes

9. Personal Care Items

10. Important Documents


Have one gallon per person per day to use for drinking, hygiene and cleaning as needed. Purchased bottled water has an indefinite shelf life as long as the seal has not been broken.

If purity is uncertain, treat water with one of two easy methods:

Method 1 – Boil at a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes. Let cool before drinking. To improve the taste, pour from one clean container to another.

 Method 2 – To disinfect water use regular house hold bleach containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use products labeled to contain other chemicals. Add 16 drops of bleach to one gallon of water. Let stand for 5 minutes before using. Repeat the process if a slight chlorine smell is not detected.

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Have a two week supply of non-perishable food per person: electrolyte drinks, ready-to-eat canned meat, fruit and vegetables, canned or boxed juices, powdered milk and soup, crackers, granola, trail mix.

You need to plan for your family’s unique needs and tastes. Pay special attention to diets, infants, toddlers and the elderly. Try to pack foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking. Routinely inspect all foods for spoilage. Label and date all foods. Also consider the shelf life and rotate appropriately.

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Can Opener

Make sure it is a manual can opener in case there is no electrical power. Consider buying items with a pull-top opening. Understand how the manual can opener works. Be aware of the hand strength required to use a manual can opener. Practice using a manual can opener.

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Collect one month’s worth of any prescription medicines you are taking. Discuss the possibility of stockpiling medication samples with your physician. Rotate stockpiled medication to ensure shelf life and note the expiration date so you do not keep anything past their date. Include non-prescription fever/pain reliever, antacids, anti-diarrheal items, etc., in your stockpile.

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First Aid

Include basics, such as antiseptic, gloves, a variety of bandage sizes, thermometer, and protective masks. You can buy a pre-made kit at most pharmacies or grocery stores.

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Keep a bright flashlight in case there is no electrical power. Consider getting a lantern-style light for hands-free use. Do not use candles! They are a fire hazard and are easy to lose track of when the lights come back on. Remember extra batteries and rotate stockpiled batteries to ensure shelf life currency.

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Have a battery-powered radio for listening to news and weather. Consider buying a radio with a weather alert feature. Consider buying a crank-operated or solar-powered radio. Do not forget extra batteries! Buy them in advance in case they are in short supply.

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Collect extra clothing, socks, and shoes per person. Consider packing blankets, rain gear and outerwear in case of inclement weather. Evaluate size and replace every six months.

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Personal Care Items

Collect the basics like soap, toilet paper, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, bleach, garbage bags and feminine products. You might also want to include entertainment items such as cards, books or comfort items for children.

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Important Documents

Collect copies of driver licenses, photo ID, social security cards, birth certificates, deeds, titles, mortgage papers, insurance policies, bank account number and credit cards. You can keep electronic copies of these items as well as photos of your home for insurance purposes on a flash drive/memory stick.

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Page last updated: May 13, 2021