Survival Skills # 23
How to Prepare a 72-hour Emergency Preparedness Kit
A 72-hour emergency preparedness kit can be a lifesaver when disaster strikes. While it's good to have a long-term supply of food, water and other necessities, a portable three-day emergency kit is important to have on hand in case you need to evacuate your home. Having your own supply of the basics for the first 72 hours after an emergency will keep you alive and well until further help arrives, which can take up to three days or longer. There are many kits available on the market, but by making your own, you can save money and customize it for your family's needs.
Things You'll Need:
Container or bag for kit or
Water-proof plastic container for kit
Freezer Ziploc bags
Bic Lighter X 2
First aid supplies
Medicine and toiletries
Protection from the elements
Extra clothing and bedding
Money (Small Bills)
Choose an appropriate container for your kit. A large backpack for each member of your family is a good option. If your family members get separated, each person still has what they need. Duffel bags are another option. You'll want something that is easy to carry in the event you need to walk a long distance.
Gather water and food supplies for your kit. Choose items that don't need to be cooked, such as granola bars and canned foods, but be sure to have at least one good working can opener. Other possible foods could include trail mix, canned meats, dried fruits, crackers, powdered milk and juice. Don't forget to take into consideration special dietary needs of infants or the elderly. It's also a good idea to have a mess kit in each backpack. Comfort foods, such as candy or gum, can provide some stress-relief during an emergency. Water is vital to have in a 72-hour kit, not only for drinking, but also for sanitary purposes. Try to have at least a gallon per person.
Have a first aid kit and toiletries in each backpack. You can buy a commercially prepared first aid kit, or you can put together your own. Don't forget to include any prescription and non-prescription medications. Keep toiletries and other items water-proofed by sealing them in a Ziploc bag. Make sure backpacks include toilet paper, a toothbrush and toothpaste, wipes, hand sanitizer, feminine products, diapers and cleaning supplies, such as dish soap and a washcloth.
Have fuel and light available. Provide a good quality flashlight for each backpack. Remove batteries from the flashlight before storing to avoid leakage. Be sure to have extra batteries as well as flares, waterproof matches and lighters.
Provide protection from the elements. You don't know if shelter will be available when an emergency arises, so it's good to be prepared. Have a blanket for each person. You can buy Mylar blankets specifically designed for emergency kits, or you could use sleeping bags or wool blankets. Include a sturdy tarp and some rope to provide a makeshift shelter. Each person will also need a change of clothes, and, if possible, an extra pair of sturdy shoes.
Have personal documents on hand. Keep documents (or a copy, if possible) in a waterproof container. Be sure to include any legal documents, such as birth certificates, wills and passports. Also include insurance policies, immunization records, genealogy records and religious documents.