10 Items to Have on Hand During an Emergency

We’ve all been there. We’re on vacation in the mountains, and we find ourselves stranded in a snowstorm. Maybe we’re driving back from our holiday party and get stuck in a ditch. There are plenty of situations where tech can save your life—or at least make it a whole lot easier while you’re waiting for help to arrive. So today, we’re bringing you a selection of tech items that will keep you at the top of your game in case of an emergency.

Phone/Power bank

Of course, you won’t get very far without your phone or its charger. While it’s tempting to look up memes and text your friends during the first hour of an emergency, you need to think long-term. Stash a fully charged battery in your bag so you can switch it out when your phone dies, which could be sooner than anticipated if no one has gotten around to fixing the power grid yet. If you have a solar charger, bring that as well. 

Regardless of whether you’ve lost power, having a charged phone is imperative for communication purposes and storing vital information like maps and contacts. You never know when you’ll need a little extra juice to keep your phone running during an emergency. These portable charging stations are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and charge up at least once so they can keep your phone charged all day. 

You can use Poweradd Powerbank with multiple outputs, so you can charge more than one gear at a time. And don’t forget about GPS tracking—it’s more important than ever to know where you’re going during an emergency!


In case of a power outage, you don’t want to get caught in the dark with no way of helping yourself or others. A flashlight is one of your most valuable assets in any emergency situation. A flashlight will allow you to see in the dark (obviously), but it also can help you signal for help and find things that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to spot with just ambient light. Make sure to store extra batteries with your flashlight. You can use the EBL Universal Battery Charger to power up your gadgets.

First Aid Kit

Making your own first aid kit is a great way to lower your costs and make sure you have exactly what you need. The key is to focus on the basics and then add any specialized items based on your family’s needs. Most experts from WebMD suggest that the basics include bandages, tape, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream, gauze, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, and latex gloves. You should also include tweezers and scissors. Additionally, you may want to consider other things like cotton swabs for cleaning wounds and earplugs if there’s a chance that others in the house might sleep through an alert or disaster.


Multipurpose tools are among the handiest survival items around because they can do all kinds of useful things. With a knife, scissors, and sharp edge, you’re already set to handle many common emergencies. But add pliers and screwdrivers to the mix, and you’re ready for just about anything! AmazonBasics 8 in 1 multitool comes with all the items you need to get through a tough situation. If you look hard enough, you can even find models with bolt cutters or multitools that fold out into saws! There’s no need to overpay for an emergency tool like this; most multipurpose tools cost less than $30.

Matches and Lighter

Matches and a lighter are two of the easiest, quickest ways to start a fire. Both items are portable and require no additional gear or fuel; however, matches can be cumbersome and may not work in moist conditions. A good quality lighter will last for years, with refills readily available. If you choose to use either one, we recommend storing them together in a waterproof container.

Here are some tips for starting a fire:

  • Use your matches or lighter to ignite tinder (like dryer lint or paper) rather than twigs or wood chips. These burn faster and catch the larger pieces of wood on fire more easily.
  • Gather your kindling before lighting. You don’t want to be scrambling around for supplies once your match is lit!

Staying warm during an emergency can be as easy as keeping a flame going through the night. Not only will it serve as light and heat, but it will also boost morale if you find yourself frightened by your situation.


A whistle, like the ones used by lifeguards, is an inexpensive and effective way to signal something or someone. With a simple blow, you can use a whistle in the following ways:

  • To attract attention
  • To signal location
  • To ask for help
  • To call for a doctor
  • To signal the need for the rescuer

You can probably think of even more ways that it could be useful.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is an item you should have on hand at all times. It is very versatile and can be used for many tasks, including restoring, securing, and insulating. Duct tape can be used to fix almost anything, including:

  • Fixing a leaking pipe.
  • Covering up a hole in a tent or tarp.
  • Making an emergency splint for broken bones or fingers.
  • As an emergency bandage for cuts or scrapes.
  • Fixing the bottom of shoes that are about to fall apart (this is especially useful for long hikes).

Duct tape is particularly useful during emergencies as it can be used to fix minor problems until you get professional help. 

Can opener

When it comes to canned food in a disaster situation, you’ll want to make sure you have a can opener that is reliable and easy to use. There are many types of can openers available, but the two most common are manual and electric.

With manual can openers, there are very few moving parts which make them less likely to break down or malfunction. Additionally, they do not require batteries or power supplies of any kind—a handy feature when the lights go out. The main downside is that they may be more difficult for some users with arthritis or weakness in their hands and arms. Electric can openers will eliminate this problem but may not work during a power outage because they need electricity to operate.


A spork looks like a spoon and acts like a fork. This simple utensil allows you to eat most foods, including cereal, noodles, and meat. You will no longer need to purchase or store multiple eating utensils ever again. Sporks are easy to clean; they can be washed with warm water or left in the dishwasher without being damaged.

Some sporks are made of plastic, which is lightweight and inexpensive but may break easily if dropped on the ground. A metal spork would be a better choice because it will last longer and is more versatile because it can also be used as a weapon, if necessary.

Water Purification Straws

Water purification straws, like one from LifeStraw, are a compact, convenient way to make water safe for drinking. They can filter up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. These straws will give you peace of mind when drinking from any untrustworthy sources like rivers or public taps (since they’re also freezeproof) and are small enough to fit in your pocket—this makes them easy to travel with and ensures you’ll never be left high and dry when disaster strikes.

Be Prepared for Emergencies with These Items

We all have our own reasons for being prepared. Whatever yours are, there is no time like the present to be ready. Disasters come in all types, and they don’t discriminate. They can strike at any time—day or night, weekday, or weekend, inside your home or out in the elements. Having a plan of action in place will make a difference when you need it most.

To be fully prepared, you need to know how to use any equipment you keep on hand for emergencies—and having the right tools makes that possible. That way, if something should happen while you are away from home (or separated from your belongings), your family will be able to get by until help arrives. You’ll also save yourself some hassle and stress!

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About the Author

Nicole King

Nicole is a shopaholic with decades of experience. With a passion for writing and an undeniable ability to grab the best deals, Nicole enjoys helping others feed their inner-shopaholic too. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, USA Today, and Moneyish.