How To Make A Homemade Emergency Survival Kit

How To Make A Homemade Emergency Survival Kit

*This post contains affiliate links.  For more information about my disclosure policy click here.

September is Emergency Preparedness Month.  Are you ready?

School is back in session for the kids and now is a great opportunity to do a little reorganization and preparation to ensure that your family is ready in case of a catastrophic event.  

As a registered nurse and mom I have become more paranoid in the last few years about natural disasters.  And I’m not alone with my concerns.  If you recall, in 2017 the United States was hit by 3 of the largest hurricanes to have hit the US in over a century.  

In addition, my family lives in Los Angeles County which means our home sits right in the middle of earthquake country. The experts have been saying that we are due for the “big one” at any time. We can’t predict when it will actually happen, of course. But we can do our best to prepare in case it does.

As I write this, I am currently taking inventory of the homemade emergency survival kit I made last September .  And I’m asking my self the same question as I did then:  is my family prepared if we had a major emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack?

What will you do if there is an emergency?

I like to think of myself as a person who is ready for an emergency. After all, I am an emergency room nurse. I’m used to dealing with emergent situations during my twelve hour shifts. In the hospital we have all the training and supplies we need to be ready for (almost) anything.

I have plenty of first aid supplies stashed away in our garage.  And last September I made it a priority to store enough non perishable food and water to last our family for 5 days.  Now I want to reassess and make sure that my emergency food and other supplies are still up to par.  After all, we do have an additional family member, our 7 month old son!

You can buy an emergency supply kit online.

There are lots of websites online that sell emergency supply kits. Many of them cost from $100 up into the thousands, which may not be affordable for some people. In addition, they still may not include all of the supplies you may need such as food, water, medications or other personal items.

If purchasing an emergency supply kit is not an option for you, why not build you own kit and customize it for your needs? I gathered the following information from several websites and I have resources listed at the bottom of this post.

What To Put In A Homemade Emergency Survival Kit:


The CDC and FEMA state that we should have a minimum of a three day supply of water and food for everyone in the family, including pets. This water is for both drinking and sanitation.  Of course it never hurts to prepare with more.

You should have at least the equivalent of 1 gallon of water per person/per day. For our family of (almost) 4 that means we should have at least 12 gallons of water stashed away to have the minimum three day supply.

water bottles on store shelves
The dollar store is a great place to stock up on gallons of emergency water for your DIY emergency kit. In the wake of disaster it is likely that stores will run out of water and other supplies.


It is possible that electricity could be out for several days in an emergency, which means perishables in the fridge and freezer will go bad. Cooking is also difficult without electricity so the foods should be “ready to eat.” In the case of a major emergency non-perishable foods become important for survival.

Emergency food supplies:

  • Canned fruits, veggies
  • Canned beans, pastas
  • Dry cereal, granola
  • Nut butters
  • Trail mix, dried fruits
  • Protein bars, granola bars
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • Food for infants (formula, jars)
  • Food for pets

The Department of Homeland Security’s website, states that you should try to avoid foods that make you thirsty, so you don’t end up drinking all of your water.

Other emergency supplies:

Keep these items in a designated place in your home and don’t use them unless there is an emergency. You don’t want to go to your stash in the event of a natural disaster to find that portions of your emergency kit are missing.

You can’t plan a disaster. But you can prepare for it.

Take some time this weekend to prepare a homemade emergency survival kit. You will thank yourself later for being responsible and taking care of your loved ones in advance of a disaster.

Are you prepared for a disaster?  What are you going to do today to ensure that your family has what they need to survive?  Leave a comment below!

Resources: (Department of Homeland Security)

CDC Emergency