Where to Keep Your Emergency Supplies

Forward-thinking homeowners, or even renters, generally have some emergency supplies on hand. A typical kit includes a certain supply of safe drinking water, food, medical supplies, identification, candles or flashlights, blankets and weapons. If you are short on space and don’t know how to store your emergency kits, you may find yourself in a desperate situation in an emergency. Here are the places where you should keep your emergency supplies.


A store of food is of the utmost importance when considering emergencies. The food storage items should be non-perishable, meaning in cans or shrink-wrapped packages. Good choices are canned vegetables or soups that can be eaten at room temperature, shrink-wrapped crackers, cookies and granola bars. Store your food in a cool, dry place with steady temperatures. Make sure to keep a can opener in with your canned goods. Check the cans periodically for expiration dates and rotate your stash so you’ll always find something safe in an emergency. Toss any dented or bulging cans. If you have grain or wheat products in boxes, place those in sealed paper bags so pests cannot reach them.


Safe drinking water is vital to survival in an emergency. The recommended amount is a gallon of water per person per day, preferably in sealed jugs to maintain purity. You should keep the water in the same place as your food. Iodine droplets, boiling or water purification tablets can be used in an emergency if you’re unsure whether your water is safe. While these purification methods will help clean water of bacterial contaminants, they cannot protect against chemical contamination; so be sure you know what you’re up against before drinking purified water.

Medical Supplies

Most people keep first-aid supplies in their bathroom, but if you have a safe place like a panic room, cellar or bunker, you should keep all your emergency supplies together. Check your supplies periodically to ensure they’re still safe to use; they should be stored in a cool, dry place where they are unlikely to become contaminated or get wet. While it’s tempting to put them under the sink in the bathroom, they should be kept in the same cool, dry place as your food and water.

Weapons And Ammunition

For optimal safety, weapons should always be kept unloaded and locked away in an approved gun safe. Only adults should have access to the weapons, and children should be taught to alert adults to the presence of any firearms. A safe is the best place for long-term storage, as it prevents accidental discharge, theft and rust or other harm due to humidity. You should have a solid supply of good ammo, and it should also be kept in a cool, dry place; it will keep practically forever in the right environment.

Light And Heat Sources

Flashlights, candles, matches and blankets should also be part of your emergency kit. You should have at least one very high quality flashlight and a several days’ supply of corresponding batteries. Blankets can be stored just about anywhere; but be sure they’re safe from moths, rodents and dampness. Baking soda and cedar chips in the storage area can protect blankets; and, of course, you have to keep your candles and matches dry so they will ignite. Sealing them in plastic is the best way to keep them safe.

While it’s important to have an emergency kit in the home, it’s also a good idea to have one outside the home, too — in your car, your cellar, your shed or wherever you may find yourself in an emergency. The same rules apply: Keep them safe, dry and cool. You may want to put important documents like your car’s title, medical documents and your home’s deed in a fire-safe box or in a safe deposit box at the bank, in case of a fire. Using these tips, you and your family can survive an emergency and its aftermath.

–Lee Flynn

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Lee Flynn