You can never tell when disaster may strike or in what form. Recent years have seen strange and violent shifts in weather including monsoon type rains followed by massive flooding, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards and tsunamis. There is always the possibility that you may be forced from your home with just a few minutes to gather up what items you will need to survive. Thus the 72 hour kit comes in.
The 72 hour kit is just what it says. It is seventy two hours of survival supplies so that you and your family can weather out a disaster until emergency relief can reach you. Here are some ideas for your kits.
To start with, everyone in the household should have their own personal kit including any infants or pets that you have. There should also be a kit of shared items that the entire family uses. This prevents over packing of common items. So let’s start with the family kit.
The family kit consists of the following:
- solar or hand crank radio
- Can openers
- Dishes and utensils
- Pen and Paper
- Axe and/or saw
- Pocket knife
- 50’ of rope (1/4’ hemp)
- Duct tape
- Toilet Paper (enough for entire group for three days, store in water proof/mouse proof container)
- Cleaning supplies including bar soap, dish soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo (note: to avoid cross over smells purchase unscented products)
- Personal papers (including wills, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, insurance policies) and money (in watertight container)
- Credit cards
- Pre-paid phone cards
- First Aid kit (family size with sam splints and extra bandages)
- Personal camp stove (with spare fuel) for boiling water for food pouches and for washing
- Water-proof matches
- One extra meal per person
- Duffle bags or back packs to store everything near the door
- Some type of shelter, either a large camp fly or easy to erect tent or tents that will house everyone.
- One extra gallon of water
- Water purification kit (either pills or mechanical filter system)
Your personal kit should include:
- Change of clothing (to match the weather)
- Rain gear
- Blankets and or sleeping bag
- Cloth sheet
- Plastic sheet
- Prescription medications (three day supply)
- Water (minimum of one gallon per person per day for drinking and hygiene)
- Toilet kit (tooth brush and paste, wash cloth, towel, hair brush, deodorant, eye drops). For women, feminine hygiene products
- Reading material, games, puzzle books
Should include items that are easy to prepare with high energy such as Protein/Granola bars, Trail mix, Dried Fruit, Cereals, canned meats and tuna fish, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs are available from most surplus stores). If you have a ready water supply or are willing to carry extra water, dehydrated camp meals offer good variety and good energy ratio
Keep your vehicle maintained at all times and have a least one five gallon jerry can of gasoline stored safely in the garage.
As a family experiment, spend a day or two camping in the back yard or at a local campground using only what items you have at hand (no sneaking back to the house or to a store). When you return home, make a list of what items were unnecessary and what items you had forgot and needed.
Have all bags packed, ready and within easy reach (a closet next to the back door is perfect).
Check the bags every six months and update any date expired items, replace the bottled water, launder clothes and check for fit, replace medications, make sure all personal documents and credit cards are up to date. Check for any leaks or breakage that can contaminate other items.
They say that the best 72 hour kit is the one that is never used, but what a relief it would be if the need should arrive and you are packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
This article is the first of a series. Later articles will deal in detail as to what to specifically pack. To receive notification of these articles, simply subscribe by clicking the button above and you will receive e-mail notification of future writings on this subject.