Top 10 essential items for your emergency preparedness stockpile

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There are many items you should have in your emergency preparedness stockpile. In fact, we have a long list of supplies that you should have on our Get Ready stockpiling checklist.

But if you don't have time, room or money to get them all, which items are most essential? Here are some of our top picks:

1. Three-day supply of water, with one gallon of water per person per day water
Whether you’re drinking or brushing your teeth, water is essential for everyday life. After an emergency such as a tornado, flood or earthquake, the water that comes out of your tap might not be safe to drink — if it’s running at all. That’s why you need to have at least a three-day supply of bottled water stored at home, with one gallon per person per day. And don’t forget to include water for your pets!

2. Three-day supply of nonperishable food
Choose foods that don’t require refrigeration or special preparation and aren't high in salt. Look for canned fruit packed in juice, not syrup. Be sure to rotate your supplies every six months to keep food fresh, using the clock change as a reminder. 

3. Manual can opener
Don’t forget to include a manual can open in your stockpile to open all of your canned food items easily and safely.

4. First-aid kit
Injuries can happen during disasters. Therefore, having a basic first-aid kit with such as sterile gloves, gauze, soap, burn ointment, bandages in a variety of sizes, pain relievers, scissors and tweezers.

first-aid kit5. Radio
A radio is essential to receive emergency information. Any hand-cranked or battery-operated radio can provide important information on weather or evacuation alerts.

6. Flashlights and lanterns
When the power’s out, it can be dangerous to walk around. Keep flashlights and battery-operated lanterns in your stockpile so you can stay safe and lit. Remember: Candles aren't the safe choice!

7. Batteries
Batteries are essential during a disaster. It can be hard to locate batteries when the power is out, so keeping them in your disaster stash makes sense. whistle

8. Whistle to signal for help
It can be helpful to keep a whistle on a keychain or taped under your desk for fast access during a disaster. Three blasts from a whistle is an internationally recognized distress signal. 

medicines9. Prescription medications
If you regularly use prescription medications, it’s key that you have access to them in an emergency. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about getting an extra supply to keep in your stockpile.

10. Battery-operated or solar cellphone charger
Cellphones can be essential for communicating with your family, emergency responders and local authorities. A battery-operated or solar cellphone charge can ensure you will have access to a charged phone, even when the power is out.

See examples on Pinterest
Not sure where or what to buy? Check out our Pinterest version of this list for ideas

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Ready to create your stockpile? Check out our free fact sheets and materials
For more info on creating an emergency stockpile, visit the Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks home page.

Supply images by Photka, courtesy iStockphoto