How to Choose an Emergency Preparedness Store
The top performers in our review are Emergency Essentials, the Gold Award winner; SOS Survival Products, the Silver Award winner; and The Ready Store, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing an emergency preparedness store to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 online stores.
Emergencies come in many forms. An earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster could leave you and your loved ones without food, water and medical necessities for days, weeks or even longer. A power outage, gas leak or other, more man-made mishap can cut off easy access to vital supplies for a time, too. Unemployment also can lead to periods of time where you cannot make your usual trip to the grocery store. It makes sense to have a few things set aside for those situations. That’s where emergency preparedness stores can offer peace of mind.
Different people have different comfort levels. Some like to have enough supplies to live months or even years off the grid. Others are happy with a little food and a flashlight just in case. Maybe you do not have any supplies and are just starting to have an interest in being ready for a disaster. Emergency preparedness stores should be able to help those at either end of that spectrum, and everyone in between.
The best emergency preparedness stores offer a range of emergency equipment that includes first aid supplies, food preparation tools and a good selection of food. These stores should be a one-stop shop for everything that you would need to get through an emergency warm, well-fed and hydrated.
Why Use an Emergency Preparedness Store?
You could always collect emergency supplies here and there, cobbling together a box, backpack or entire storeroom that is ready for anything. There is some equipment available in sporting goods stores and through general online retailers like Amazon, but that means a fair amount of fumbling about in your searches. It also means a lack of knowledge specific to preparedness from the customer service representatives. If you find a store that is specifically organized to offer anything you could possibly need, it will be easier to build and then maintain your supply.
The best stores have websites that are packed with information that you need to make your choice, backed up by customer service from people who know the products. Survival food is a big piece of the puzzle for preparedness but you also need to think about shelter, warmth and light sources during dramatic events. The best sites make it easy to find foods with a long shelf life that you can stand to eat and supplies that are well-made and portable. For more information, read our articles about emergency preparedness.
How to Choose an Emergency Preparedness Store
Even if you have decided against a general retailer in favor of a specific emergency preparedness store, you still have some choices ahead. Growing interest in preparedness means there are quite a few companies to choose from. They differentiate themselves in their level of selection and convenience. Some of this depends on your specific needs, of course. If you have food stored away already you may be looking for other things, like first aid kits or emergency shelters. If you have enough to keep you warm and sheltered in an emergency, you may be more interested in food that is safe to store for long periods of time. The best of the stores in our emergency preparedness store reviews can help you with any survival supplies you can imagine and a few you probably cannot. You may not naturally think of a specific kit for earthquakes, for instance, but many of the competing companies in our lineup have specific kits for such situations.
Emergency Preparedness Stores: How We Evaluated, What We Found
While it is not possible to evaluate the effectiveness of each store in preparing you for every potential scenario, we did seek out the stores that have the widest selection, making them the most likely to keep you comfortable in any kind of emergency. We looked for companies that can provide you with food, water, shelter, heat, power and more.
We tallied the selection of important types of equipment for those who would like to assemble their own collection – counting the types of first aid kits, shelter, warmth, lighting, water treatment and other types of supplies. You should expect to have lots of choice in every equipment category and to get exactly what you want, whether you are shopping for tents, first aid or food.
A 72-hour kit is often a first step in emergency preparedness. That time frame is well-known because it is a typical wait time for first responders in major disasters. Sometimes they may get to you sooner and sometimes later but three days is what you can reasonably expect after an earthquake, hurricane or other devastating event. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website recommends supplies in “sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.” We looked for emergency preparedness stores that stock an array of pre-assembled 72-hour kits as well as everything you would need to make your own. We also compared typical 72-hour, one-person kits from each site to see how well they match up with FEMA’s list of recommended items. Scoring advantages went to sites with 72-hour kits that line up best with FEMA’s list.
We also looked for a nice selection of different types of kits. Some companies offer pre-assembled kits for earthquakes, for example, which can offer peace of mind to people who live around fault lines. We evaluated the companies for their customer service, too. If you are going to the trouble of using a store that is specific for preparedness you should be able to expect knowledgeable service.
Emergency Preparedness Stores: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Emergency Essentials, SOS Survival Products and The Ready Store all are exemplary emergency preparedness retailers. Emergency Essentials stands out especially for its impressive set of 72-hour kits and great variety of individual-purchase items for those who prefer to make their own kits of every kind. SOS Survival Products had the biggest selection of a la carte items – there were almost 100 different types of lighting sources alone – and they maintain a solid selection of pre-assembled kits too. The Ready Store had a slightly smaller selection of a la carte items and pre-assembled kits than the top two, but it had an impressive collection of water filtration and storage equipment, which is crucial for preparedness.
All of the emergency preparedness stores in our lineup are fine choices for anyone who knows they might have to get through a tough situation or for those who want to take extra precautions. The very best options offer a wide selection of emergency equipment and food options that will help you face a crisis with calm confidence rather than fear.