Gift of Emergency Item

Use gift ideas to jump-start emergency preparedness in friends and family.

Challenge #1:  You have friends and family who procrastinate about getting prepared for emergencies.

Solution: Use gifts as emergency kit starter ideas. Pick gifts they’ll like, add encouragement.

Challenge #2You want to show employees your appreciation – but don’t want to waste money on gifts they might not like.

Solution: Give employees “starter items” for their at-home or at-work survival kits – meaningful and useful for you and them! Stick with relatively low-cost items so they won’t be considered taxable.

Some of the items in this list are so inexpensive you could bundle them to really get a kit started!

Here are the TOP TEN emergency kit starter ideas (most popular first!) plus one bonus!

1-Emergency radio – By far the most popular and most useful gift. A good emergency radio gets AM/FM and NOAA and has multiple sources of power (solar, battery, hand-crank) so it will work no matter what. The Kaito is a solid, mid-price example, with an oversized solar panel (oversized compared to others). And this model can even charge a cellphone. Our own Kaito is black, but I like this yellow because it would show up better in the dark.

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power,Dynamo Crank, Wind Up Emergency AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight,Reading Lamp and Cellphone Charger, Yellow

2-Emergency lighting — Ever have a power outage? Ever lose a contact lens? Ever need to read the model number off the back of a computer? (Like, every time Windows updates . . . !)

If so, you will understand why having a flashlight in every room is smart and convenient. In an emergency, rechargeables won’t be rechargeable very long, so here’s a great flashlight that operates off regular batteries. And it is BRIGHT. (Any light with less than 300 lumens really isn’t worth it for emergency purposes.) In fact, it’s so bright that it could work for personal protection; shine it into someone’s eyes and they’ll be blinded for a sec.

This flashlight is also simple to operate. Just on and off, no clicking through 5 options to get to the one you think you want. Perfect for a starter kit.

GearLight TAC LED Flashlight Pack – 2 Super Bright, Compact Tactical Flashlights with High Lumens for Outdoor Activity & Emergency Use

3-Water bottles with filter —These days people expect to see you carrying a water bottle. Might as well have one that looks serves a dual purpose of hydrating your body AND filtering out germs. LifeStraw is the international standard in water filtration; it offers Stage-1 and Stage-2 bottles, with the second having more filtration levels.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel, Blue

4-Multi-purpose tool – My favorite on the list! I’ve always loved tools of all sorts, and this one fits the bill for quality and usefulness. When it comes to multi-purpose tools, get a good one! Cheap tools actually bend and break – I’ve had that happen!

And another caution: just because YOU love all the gadgets doesn’t mean you’d want to give this item as a gift to someone with less experience or fewer needs. Other Leatherman tools are simpler and lighter-weight. Pick the one that will make the best gift for the OTHER PERSON, not necessarily the one you’d want for yourself!  (Same goes for the Swiss Army knife, further down the page.) Click on the link below the image to get current prices at Amazon.


LEATHERMAN – Wingman Multitool, Stainless Steel

5-Swiss Army Knife — The classic! There are many models; we always have one or the other. (Joe actually has several, each a different size.) This version is made for “outdoor adventures” but, of course, works indoors just as well. Lifetime guarantee to get you through any emergency. (You won’t get through airline security with this one, though. . . so you’ll have to pack it into your checked luggage.)

Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster Pocket Knife, Red

6-Duct tape — Another favorite, but this time, packaged in useful, flat packs instead of the traditional very heavy and very bulky roll. Perfect for stuffing into an emergency kit, into the glove compartment of the car or a drawer at work. This brand of tape comes in different colors, too. so you can use it for handy labeling.

RediTape 10932 Colored Compact Flat Fold Duct Tape | for Travel, Camping, Photography and Emergencies | Pocket Size, 3-Pack, Black, Orange, Silver

7-Solar Charger — Everyone of your family members has a cellphone or tablet, or is getting one for Christmas!  The newer these gadgets are, the more energy they need . . . and, in an emergency, the faster they will run out of battery. Consider a simple SOLAR CHARGER that will avoid ever running out!  I like this one because it’s a reasonable size, has sturdy and protected corners. It even has its own (small) flashlight. I predict that everyone will soon have a solar charger attached to their backpack.

Solar Power Bank,YELOMIN 20000mAh Portable Outdoor Solar Charger,Camping External Backup Battery Pack Dual USB 5V 1A/2A Outputs 2 Led Light Flashlights with Compass

8-First Aid Kit — This item is one that we felt obliged to include on the list, since every emergency resource (Red Cross, FEMA, etc.) recommends one. However, any first aid kit needs to be augmented – typically with larger bandages, more tape, anti-bacterial creams or dressings, etc. (I always have to add chap stick for myself and bug repellent for Joe.) (Be thinking about a magnifying glass, too, if you need to read all the directions.) Naturally, your own knowledge of first aid will guide you. In any case, this one is a reasonable starter item, and its soft case will allow you to add. Certainly better to have even a minimal first aid kit than none at all!

First Aid Only All-purpose First Aid Kit, Soft Case with Zipper, 299-Piece Kit, Large, Blue

9-Matches and/or fire igniter (also has a whistle and (tiny) compass) —Whether to build a fire will depend on where you find yourself in an emergency. But if you want one, or need one for life-saving heat, this simple little magnesium lighter will work. You’ll want to practice before the emergency hits! (Turn practice into a family fun activity!)

Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

10-Space blanket — There’s no better buy than a space blanket! And nothing easier to use when you need it for warmth, or – turning it the other way out — to reflect the heat or light. But don’t be misled: This is very thin mylar, and tears easily. But you can use it to stuff INSIDE your coat or boots for extra warmth, to put UNDER your sleeping bag for protection from the damp, to put BEHIND your fire to reflect the heat. So have several in your kit. (You can also get mylar space blankets already formed into a simple sleeping bag. Even better for warmth.)

Emergency Mylar Blanket 52″ x 84″ – Pack of 12 Blankets

Bonus Gift Idea

A good book — Have a particularly cautious or resistant friend or family member? Try bringing them along gently with the help of a good book!  (They may find a gift they’d like to give themselves as a starter item!) We have selected some top-rated books at our sister site: Naturally, you’ll find our own books there, too, mixed in with a half-dozen historical best-sellers and even some magazines. (The most recent book I’ve added is actually a collection of First Aid Books. One could be added to your first aid kit, above!)

Enjoy your shopping. Enjoy your giving! Share why you’ve chosen preparedness gifts. The more we all know, the better off we all will be!.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Once again, these are meant to be emergency kit STARTER items, with the hope that the recipient will be inspired to add more to build a basic survival kit.  If you need to, take another look at our list of supplies that might go into a complete survival kit.