5 Essential Emergency Items You May Not Have (But Should)

Are you terrified of earthquakes? I am.

When I was 6 years old, I experienced a 7.7-magnitude earthquake in the Philippines. I remember seeing the news coverage of collapsed buildings and footage of volunteers going through the piles of debris looking for any survivors. And, hearing the stories of some students run down a flight of stairs at their school as it crumbled down behind them seeing their classmates fall with it.

Since then, I’ve always had this fear of earthquakes. Especially since they hit without warning.

The back-to-back 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude earthquakes in Ridgecrest, California, has gotten me all paranoid and worried that “the big one” could hit us. That reminder and fear pushed me off my butt to go through our emergency stuff and update them to prepare ourselves for any potential emergency situations and/or evacuations. Just in case.

Boy, did they need it!

So this weekend went something like this…

Canned foods?

Pathetic! Definitely need to stock up on. Add to shopping list.


None! (We use reusable bottles and try to avoid buying bottled water.) Add to list!

First aid kit?

Just delivered from Amazon. Check.

Emergency hand-crank AM radio?


As I was going through our stuff to make sure we had what we needed in case of an emergency, I also started to think about and research other essential emergency items that would come in handy in such situations.

So aside from the basic supplies and items we normally have like the ones listed above, here are a few other important things that some of you may not have thought to include but should. (If you have – Awesome! You’re one step ahead ;))

5 Essential Emergency Items Not to Forget

Here are the five additional items you shouldn’t forget to include in your emergency preparations.

Cash in Small Bills

I typically don’t carry cash on me. For the most part, it’s so easy to go about our days without any cash on hand anymore. Personally, I don’t like having cash because oftentimes, when I spend that cash, I forget what I spent it on. And it makes me feel like I just “lost” that money.

Using my card, on the other hand, enables me to track my spending so much more easily (I have it linked to YNAB – a budgeting tool we use).

However, in the event of a disaster, ATMs and credit card machines may be down. So, there’s a possibility we may not be able to use our debit or credit cards. To prepare for such an event, keeping some cash on hand is an emergency essential. Make sure they’re in small bills. I have some 20s, 10s, fives and even singles.

Special Personal Hygiene and Health Items

In addition to the personal hygiene basics like toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc. – don’t forget to also have any medications your family needs. Does anyone in your household need allergy medicine? What about prescription medications?

What about other special health needs? For instance, I wear eyeglasses and contact lenses daily. Without them, I’m practically unable to see anything beyond what’s a foot away from me. So I have an extra pair of eyeglasses (my old set with a slightly lower prescription, but will still do the trick), a bottle of contact lens solution, an extra pair of contact lenses and a contact lens case.

Do you have a baby? Don’t forget to pack baby food, diapers and baby wipes!!

A Hard Copy of Your Emergency Contacts

Aside from my husband’s phone number, I can’t tell you anyone else’s phone number off the top my head anymore. With our phones attached to our hips, we don’t really need to remember them anymore.

However, in the event of a disaster, your phones may lose battery. If they’re stored in your laptops, tablets or computers, or perhaps stored in the Cloud, those could lose power too or the internet could go down, and you wouldn’t be able to access them.

Write down the contact information – phone numbers and addresses – for your family, close relatives and friends. Include family or friends who are out of state. And, don’t forget to include other important emergency contacts, such as your family doctor and medical/insurance coverage numbers, police department, fire department, poison control, etc.

If you typed this up, make sure you print it out and include a copy in your emergency bag. This is an emergency essential!

Comfort Items

After a disaster, emotions will be high. Members of your family may feel panicked, worried, nervous, anxious – you name it. Children especially may find it more difficult to manage the stress that comes in such situations.

That’s why it’s important for us to also think of items that can bring comfort to our children and ourselves when putting together our emegency supplies.

What brings the people in your family comfort? A cuddly stuffed animal? A blanket? Even treats like chocolate or candy can help raise morale. My kids love fruit snacks, so those are in our emergency bags. I also packed 2 little stuffed animals for them.

Analog Entertainment

Prepare for the internet and power to be down. With that – our devices will lose power eventually and we won’t be able to stream Netflix or Hulu to entertain the kids.

After a disaster, you may be waiting for help and there may be idle time. Make sure you have some activities to keep everyone entertained. These, like comfort items, can help ease our nerves and divert our stressed minds even for just a bit.

Here are some ideas:

  • Crayons or markers
  • Coloring books or sketchpads
  • Board games
  • A deck of cards
  • Books (in print ;))
  • Magazines
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Little toy
  • Legos/mega blocks
  • Puzzles

There you have it. These are five essential emergency items you should have on hand: cash, special personal hygiene items and medications, a hard copy of your emergency contacts, comfort items and non-digital entertainment that don’t need a power source.

Take some time to put together or update your emergency supplies and be sure to include these five items. You’ll feel so much better knowing you and your family are prepared for emergency situations. It’s better to have them and not need them, than not have them and need them.

Happy prepping!

5 Emergency Essential Items You Should Have

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